City staff give nod to airport development proposal

Oct. 16--Plans for a major industrial park development near the Lawrence Municipal Airport are getting a thumbs ups from the city's planning staff.

But questions still remain about the proposal to convert 144 acres near US Highway 24/40 and North Seventh Street into a new business park. The largest question is money.

The city planning staff has released a new report recommending approval of the project, but planners concede that the amount of money taxpayers may have to spend to make the project a reality is not yet known.

The report details that significant waterline, sewer and road improvements will be needed to convert the property into an industrial park. The development group, led by Lawrence businessman Jes Santaularia, has requested public funding for those infrastructure improvements.

City Manager David Corliss today said cost estimates haven't yet been finalized for the infrastructure improvements. He also said those estimates may not be completed in time for the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission to consider when it debates the project at its Oct. 24 meeting. But Corliss said the estimates would be ready by the time the City Commission considers giving final approval to the project. That is not expected to happen until at least mid-November.

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