Archive for Tuesday, May 17, 2011

City leaders consider uses for Farmland Industries site as cleanup continues

New business park may feature renewable energy projects

May 17, 2011


The former Farmland Industries site on the eastern edge of Lawrence is shown in an aerial photo taken Monday, May 16, 2011.

The former Farmland Industries site on the eastern edge of Lawrence is shown in an aerial photo taken Monday, May 16, 2011.

The tearing down continues at the former Farmland Industries fertilizer site, but now City Hall leaders are starting to spend more time considering how to build up the 467-acre property on the eastern edge of Lawrence.

“We have been pleased with how it is going out there,” said Matt Bond, a city engineer who is overseeing clean-up of the site. “We haven’t run into any issues that we haven’t expected yet.”

Bond said Lawrence-based R.D. Johnson Excavating is on schedule to complete the cleanup of the property by the end of the summer, which will clear the way for the city to begin converting the site into a new industrial and business park.

City commissioners at their Tuesday evening meeting unanimously agreed to apply for a federal grant that could make the future business park a unique renewable energy attraction. Commissioners are hoping to use the grant to receive $50,000 in consulting services to determine whether portions of the Farmland site can be used for renewable energy projects such as wind, solar and geothermal energy production.

“I think it will be surprising to a lot of people how feasible alternative energy is in our area,” said Mayor Aron Cromwell, who sells and designs solar systems in his private business. “There are some definite possibilities out there.”

City officials said they aren’t necessarily expecting the Farmland property to become the site of a major renewable energy center. Instead, they think the site may have potential for smaller scale projects that could be used to provide power to businesses that locate in the business park.

“It could be a great selling point to businesses,” Bond said.

He said a layman’s analysis suggest wind energy could be generated on the large hill on the site, and that a series of ponds along 15th Street could house solar panels once they are capped.

The EPA program would provide the city with technical experts to evaluate the site and explain what steps would need to be taken to add renewable energy projects to the property.

Commissioners also are expected to soon begin discussing potential projects to extend infrastructure to the Farmland site. That could include an extension of 19th Street, an extension of Franklin Road and a new traffic signal to provide better access to the property, and perhaps a new road to connect the Farmland property with the adjacent East Hills Business Park.


50YearResident 6 years, 11 months ago

"Will complete the cleanup by the end of summer"

I will believe that when I actually see it! If it goes like North 2nd Street road repair it might be several years. Remember it has to meet Federal clean-up standards.

Mr_B9 6 years, 11 months ago

blue73harley (anonymous) says…I am curious as to how many tons of iron have been scrapped. That would be one way of measuring progress.

Great point. When will this information be disclosed?

kujhawk 6 years, 11 months ago

Ask Kaw Valley recycling of KCMO how it's going, their the one's doing the scrapping. I believe RD gets to keep the first 1500 tons of scrap iron. At 175-200 dollars a ton that's a pretty good chunk of change.

Scott Morgan 6 years, 11 months ago

After spending two decades here one thing is for certain. If you know the right people it's the gravy train, if you don't you get the shaft.

Clovis Sangrail 6 years, 11 months ago

Has the old office building been torn down yet?

If not, I would suggest that the homeless shelter be relocated there.

Then the clients can get valuable work experience helping clean up the place.

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