The City of Arkansas City will support Creekstone Farms Premium Beef in pursuing a proposed tax exemption for its newest expansion.

This exemption would come as the result of Creekstone’s plans to build a new facility at 604 Goff Industrial Park Road.

Creekstone plans to spend $35 million constructing a cold storage facility for warehousing and purchasing equipment for that facility, according to documentation in the City Commission agenda packet.

The commissioners unanimously approved a resolution of support for the idea at their regular meeting Oct. 16.

The tax exemption Creekstone will apply for is for the purposes of economic development. Should they be granted this tax exemption, the city will receive some benefit, as well.

Creekstone has indicated it will enter into a Payment In Lieu Of Tax (PILOT) agreement, in which it will pay to the city $30,000 per year for 10 years to help to fund planned improvements to Wilson Park.

This expansion will provide additional jobs in Arkansas City, though a specific estimate was not given. A cost-benefit analysis still has to be completed.

Resident Mell Kuhn inquired whether the funds for Wilson Park could be used for any of the other parks in the city, or even other projects.

City Manager Nick Hernandez indicated Creekstone intended the money for improvements to Wilson Park.

Kuhn asked if the Agri-Business Building or the Paris Park Pool could benefit.

“The Ag Building’s been taken care of. The pool is going to get repaired before next season,” Hernandez replied.

The funds received from Creekstone, which would total $300,000, could be used to obtain matching funds from the V.J. Wilkins Memorial Foundation. This would double the funds to $600,000 for advancement of the Wilson Park Master Plan, which was unveiled in 2016.

New housing projects

Hernandez had other good news for the commissioners, in the form of two housing developments that soon will be under construction.

Lake View Estates, which will provide affordable housing for senior citizens, will begin construction in February 2019.

As part of the agreement between Red-Wood Development and the city, the developer will build public restrooms near Veterans Memorial Lake and finish paving the lake walking trail.

Compass Point, which will be located west of MeadowWalk Apartments, also shoud begin construction soon.

This housing development, which could total 54 houses, will begin with 10 homes in early 2019. Hernandez said finalizing a development agreement for the utilities and determining the special assessments is the only thing preventing construction from getting under way.

In other business, the commissioners:

  • heard from several residents concerning the city’s purported interest in purchasing at auction a piece of land referred to as “Avocado Beach.” Jancie Harader, Brandon Every and Sheila Malone all addressed the commission. Mayor Dan Jurkovich thanked them for their comments, but said there were no items on the agenda to discuss any property purchase publicly.
  • unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the city to execute a grant of right-of-way agreement and relocation of water line agreement with Kansas Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of Westar Energy.
  • unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the city to enter into a contract with Smith & Oakes, Inc. to provide engineering design, construction administration, staking and inspection services for the Westar-KanPak water line relocation project, for an amount not to exceed $120,800.
  • heard a first reading of an ordinance amending the city’s zoning and subdivision regulations. It was tabled for a second reading Nov. 6.
  • heard manager updates.
  • held a 15-minute executive session for the preliminary discussion of the acquisition of real property to discuss potential land procurement in south Arkansas City. No action related to property acquisition followed this executive session.
  • approved the cleanup of part of the Veterans Memorial Lake shoreline, for an amount not to exceed $20,000.

Special Arkalalah meeting

The commission also met Oct. 18 to address two action items connected to the Arkalalah Festival.

Commissioners Jay Warren and Duane Oestmann were not present at this special meeting.

These two ordinances authorize the sale and consumption of alcohol by those 21 or older at the Arkalalah beer garden, which will be located in Ben Givens City Center Park during Arkalalah on Oct. 24-27, as well as at the Arkalalah concert Oct. 25 in Wilson Park.

Both items passed with 3-0 votes after the commissioners rejected a request from the Arkalalah Executive Committee to allow people younger than 21 to be present, but not consume alcohol, on the beer garden premises.

Those under 21 will be allowed to attend the concert, but those of age to drink will have to present identification and wear wristbands.