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Hoisington City Manager gauges interest in unique offer
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Hoisington City Council members toured the city's municipal power plant Monday evening prior to the regular city council meeting. - photo by VERONICA COONS, Great Bend Tribune

Hoisington Land Bank Board approves request to build at McKenna Meadows

HOISINGTON — The Hoisington Land Bank board met Monday evening prior to the Hoisington City Council meeting to discuss a new McKenna Meadows lot request. Bruce K. and Tonya L. Strong, Iowa, are requesting are requesting Lot 2, Block 1 of McKenna Meadows to build a new home for their family.
The request did not include a request for one of remaining two $25,000 grant available through Kansas Housing Resources Company to cover closing costs of their loan. Two of the four available grants have already been approved through this program, and City Manager Jonathan Mitchell reported that several unanticipated requirements set by KHRC have been completed and they are ready to move forward now with awarding those grants.
Mitchell told the Tribune last week that for now it appears the KHRC is open to the city continuing to market remaining grants until they have all been spoken for. He believes an upticking economy is driving the surge in requests to build the city has seen in the past year.
“I think another thing is the incentive of the $25,000 grants,” Mitchell said. “plus, it’s a really cool new neighborhood.”
The City of Hoisington Land Bank, established June 14, 2010, is a separate governmental entity, which can be used to facilitate the acquisition, and the disposition of real property. It is governed by a board of trustees comprised by the city’s governing body. It is subject to the Open Records and Open Meetings. Through it, property owned by the city or county may be transferred to the land Bank without any bidding or public sale requirements. The property acquired by the Land Bank comes free and clear of delinquent taxes, assessments, charges, penalties and interest, and it is exempt from payment of all ad valorem taxes. It is up to the board to determine when and to whom to sell property to, and there is no requirement for competitive bidding. It was created primarily to prevent the negative impact caused by vacant and tax-delinquent property, with a goal towards returning tax delinquent property to productive use that benefits the community.
Those seeking further information on this program and other lots available in Hoisington can contact Hoisington Land Bank Board through the City of Hoisington.

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.