Wichita Eagle newspaper stories from summer 2003 tell of the City of Bel Aire‘s plans for an industrial park. Today Sedgwick County may purchase this land from the small city.
This item, described on the agenda — at least I think this is the item — simply as “Land purchase contract” has assumed a sense of urgency.
The Eagle news stories tell how the city of Bel Aire purchased the land in secret, because it didn’t want the City of Wichita to be aware of its plans.
But the important questions are these:
Bel Aire hired real estate developer Steve Martens to develop the industrial park. Recently the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition says they’ve lost out on bids to attract industry to Wichita because we don’t have ready-to-go land available for industrial development. Steve Martens has been the chairman of the GWEDC during some of the time since Bel Aire announced plans to develop this industrial park.
I’m having trouble forming a precise question based on these facts. But I hope you see how I am perplexed by these facts.
Then, what has changed now that would make us believe that Sedgwick County — a different governmental body, but still government — will have a better experience developing this industrial park?
If the GWEDC has a specific prospect in mind for this land — and that may be a very real possibility — it would be reassuring to hear it say so. I understand that the courting of companies looking to relocate or expand may be shrouded in secrecy by necessity. It’s also possible that we’re being used as a bargaining chip. These are problems for a different day.
What is the plan for future ownership of the land in question? Will the county continue to own it, or will it sell it to companies that locate here?
Is it possible to have the private sector develop this land even if it’s owned by Sedgwick County? We have many talented real estate developers in this area.