By Jim Misunas
LARNED — After several months of work, the Larned city council approved a contract Monday night from Heartland Irrigation co-owners Mark Vogts and Brian Wedel to purchase the Larned National Guard Armory.
Heartland Industries, a drip irrigation company based in Moundridge, will purchase the property for $250,000. Vogts said the company has agreed to a five-year term for “first right of refusal,” if the business wants to sell the property.
Lane Massey, Larned city manager, said it was a good achievement for the city council to approve the contract. Massey suspects it will take 30 to 45 days for the company to perform title work and obtain a conditional use permit for the building.
“Anytime you add jobs that will benefit the local community, it’s a great thing,” Massey said. “It was great to bring the project to closure for t3he city council.”
Vogts said the contract from the city had been finalized and approved by Heartland’s lawyers. The irrigation company specializes in sales and serve for innovative drip irrigation systems by Netafim, USA.
Drip irrigation, also known as trickle irrigation, micro irrigation or localized irrigation, is an irrigation method which saves water and fertilizer by allowing water to drip slowly to the roots of plants, either onto the soil surface or directly onto the root zone, through a network of valves, pipes, tubing, and emitters. It is done with the help of narrow tubes which delivers water directly to the base of the plant.
Vogts said the popularity and efficiency of drip irrigation systems have replaced above-ground systems. He said crews will work from Larned to better serve a multi-county area in central and northern Kansas.
“We can install and replace existing systems for farming operations,” Vogts said. “There is no evaporation because the water is provided underground. We’ve done quite a bit of work in the Larned area. We emphasize that we do quality work.”
Vogts said the company first publicized its irrigation work through agricultural trade shows, but have used successful clients as their best advocates.
“If you do a good job, they will advertise your work for you,” he said.
Vogts said a manager and several employees will work full time from the Larned office. Vogts said the building will likely not require any changes, but the exterior land may require extra fencing.
“Anytime you can work closer to the area you’re installing equipment, the more you will save,” he said.
Larned’s National Guard Armory was turned over to the city of Larned in 2010. The armory was one of 18 that the National Guard closed because of the state’s budget crisis. The Larned Assembly of God offered a nine-acre tract of land valued at $104,000 east of Larned in addition to $146,000.