Baldwin city officials are interested in helping the county solve a problem if they can get a business park located near their city.
During Wednesday's Douglas County Commission meeting, Baldwin Mayor Ken Hayes said he is interested in working with the county to create a business park in which the county's Type III rural home-businesses could relocate.
The county is looking for one or more sites where the businesses, which are mainly construction-related, could go once the county's newly approved home-occupation regulations are enforced in 2007. Businesses must register by Dec. 31 to receive the five-year window to continue operating at their present sites.
Hayes said Baldwin needs a new business park, though he is not interested in the 160 acres southwest of town previously identified by the city as a possible industrial park.
In August, the Baldwin City Council approved paying $25,000 for a one-year option to buy the land from Baldwin resident Jim Faulkner. If the council decided to buy the land for a business park and city recreation area, the money would be applied to the purchase of the property, which carries a $590,000 price tag.
"The current ground we have under option is not appropriate," Hayes said. "We'll be dealing with that shortly."
Instead, he said he would like to build a business park off U.S. Highway 56 about one mile east of U.S. Highway 59, where the state's proposed alignment of an expanded U.S. 59 may go.
County commissioners said they were willing to work with Baldwin.
"My guess is once you open the doors we may have new businesses we never knew before or ones from other counties, and suddenly they think this will be a good opportunity," Commissioner Charles Jones said.
Eudora Mayor Ron Conner said his city's planning commission is in the initial stages of updating its comprehensive plan and could foresee the need for a second business park.
In the past, the county has worked with Baldwin and Eudora officials when they built their current business parks. When those deals were struck, the county purchased the land and the cities paid back interest-free loans as the lots were sold. A similar offer may occur again.
Staff writer Joy Ludwig can be reached at 832-7144.