Community leaders should be pleased that Thursday’s auction of property near the Kansas Turnpike’s Lecompton interchange appears to have opened new opportunities to move forward on negotiations for a new Berry Plastics warehouse on the site.
The new owners of the property, Russell and Penny Tuckel, didn’t reveal specific plans after the auction but issued a written statement saying they were confident that “all involved will keep the best interests of the city of Lawrence and Douglas County residents at heart.”
The Tuckels’ statement was somewhat cryptic, but neighbors who had filed two lawsuits concerning zoning and annexation of the property saw the change in ownership as a positive sign. They say they would welcome the 600,000-square-foot Berry warehouse at the location if the property is rezoned to a lesser industrial category and proper screening is required.
Mayor Mike Amyx said he planned to meet with all the parties involved to try to keep the Berry project on track. Berry Plastics, which began as Packer Plastics, has been a good corporate citizen of Lawrence for many years. It certainly is in the community’s interest to help the company work out a deal to locate their new warehouse in Lawrence.