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MAKING THE PITCH

Hoisington City Manager gauges interest in unique offer

POSTED June 11, 2018 10:39 p.m.
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HOISINGTON — City staff have been busy in recent weeks working diligently with prospects interested in bringing new homes and businesses to town, City Manager Jonathan Mitchell told council members at Monday night’s regular city council meeting.
One of those prospects, he said, proposed a unique commercial opportunity.
“They would be a great compliment to our recreational facilities and our hotel,” he said.
Mitchell provided scant details, stating that before he could divulge more detailed information, the company making the proposal wanted first to gauge the receptiveness of the council in moving forward. Even then, whether the city can work with the company hinges on FEMA’s willingness to allow land in and around the park to be transferred to a commercial use.
The preferred spot is on the south side of the park where several city lots were sold to FEMA following a tornado, and restrictions were attached to the properties at the time removing them from residential use permanently.
However, commercial usage is possible, Mitchell learned while talking to representatives at FEMA, but a state hazard mitigation officer would need to sign off on the transfer, a process Mitchell anticipates will be complicated. The property, he added, could be used for other non-residential uses like baseball diamonds or other recreational fields.
A second choice for the facility, though not ideal,would be inside the park in an open area west of the horseshoe pits.
Council members were full of general questions about the company, including how much parking would be required, whether they would be open to allowing use of parking facilities during city events, and also how many employees could be anticipated and what proposed hours of operation would be. Mitchell’s answers were vague.
“This person, I can assure you, doesn’t do anything halfway,” Mitchell said. “ I can assure you, if they do this facility, it will be amazing.”
“All you can do is go back and tell them that yes, we’re interested,” council president Michael Aylward said. “But we need more input.”
Mitchell agreed, stating he would go back, and also continue working with FEMA to see what if anything could be worked out.

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