A former Farmland Industries executive has been hired to oversee the operations of the bankrupt company's shuttered Lawrence fertilizer plant.
Kamyar Manesh, the former manager of corporate environmental engineering for Kansas City, Mo.-based Farmland Industries, has been hired to oversee cleanup efforts of the 467-acre plant that is east of Lawrence on Kansas Highway 10.
Manesh works for Shaw Environmental, a Louisiana-based company that oversees properties with environmental problems. Shaw also will be responsible for marketing the property to potential buyers. Manesh said he believed the property would attract interest from potential buyers.
"There are several hundred acres of the property that don't need any cleanup," Manesh said. "It is basically in move-in condition."
Manesh said that Shaw, which was appointed by the bankruptcy court as the property's trustee, would consider selling the property in parcels. That could allow some of the property to be sold quickly, while work continues on the contaminated property.
Lawrence and Douglas County officials have expressed concerns about the property being sold in pieces because they fear the contaminated property would be vacant for years. The Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission has passed a resolution that says none of the plant will be annexed into the city unless a plan for the entire 467-acres is presented to the commission.
Since that resolution was passed, a deal has been struck between Farmland and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment that gives state regulators control over $7 million of Farmland money to ensure cleanup of the site.
Douglas County Commissioner Charles Jones said he was still wary about selling the property in pieces.
City and county officials have expressed an interest in buying the property for use as open space and an expansion of the East Hills Business Park, which is adjacent to the plant. Jones said city and county commissioners had tentative plans to meet Tuesday for a joint executive session to discuss the property.