Approximately two dozen community leaders attended the first “Allies Day” hosted by the Chanute Regional Development Authority. The event was designed to feature economic development efforts underway in Chanute and unveil future developments.
Participants enjoyed tours of the Spirit AeroSystems facility on Cherry Street and the Hi Lo Industries manufacturing facility in the Safari Industrial Park.
During a luncheon at Neosho County Community College CRDA Director, Murray McGee reviewed some of the accomplishments of the organization including the development of recent agreements with the City of Chanute for CRDA to manage the Business Incubator Program; and assist the Revolving Loan Fund Committee. He also mentioned the CRDA’s introduction of the Neighborhood Revitalization Program.
McGee also highlighted the continued growth at Spirit; expansion plans for Hi Lo Industries; plans for new commercial building construction along the Lincoln/Santa Fe street corridor; and several other projects. He also noted that Shelly Clarke, owner of Varsity Gear Graphics moved her business into the business incubator in late July and she is busy fulfilling orders for screen printing and custom rhinestone design t-shirts, jerseys, koozies and other items.
Mike McCown and Marty Boxberger from M2 Development participated in the morning tours and shared their plans to develop a 14 acre site at the junction of US Highway 169 and 35th street for a new travel center and hotel. McCown told the group they are currently in the “land planning” stage and it is still very preliminary. But they hope to have several pad sites available for other commercial businesses that would complement their development plans.
Jay Caldwell from Hi Lo Industries spoke to the group about their company’s recent increase in employment adding 50 new jobs over the past few months and their plans to expand their production facility in the industrial park this Fall. They will construction a 70,000 square foot addition and create at least 60 new jobs over the next 10 years.
Rob Tinsley owner of Renewable Concepts also told of his experience of moving his business into the industrial park within recent weeks. He is setting up a manufacturing business in the back of the Legacy trailer building to begin manufacturing components for wind turbines. His current plan is to hire 6 to 8 new employees and possible ramp up to 30 employees in 2014.
Brenda Krumm, Dean of Outreach and Workforce Development at Neosho County Community College provided information on the colleges’ efforts and programs to work with businesses to develop specific programs to help train their employees and develop a productive workforce. This programming is very attractive to businesses wishing to expand and for new businesses considering locating in and around Chanute.
Finally, Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins spoke to the group and congratulated them on the positive momentum that has been created through combined efforts of the CRDA, Chanute Area Chamber of Commerce, City of Chanute, Neosho County Community College and other partners. She said this is a good example that other communities should follow.
The Chanute Regional Development Authority hopes to make the Allies Day an annual event to recognize the accomplishments of local businesses, recognize our partners such as the City of Chanute, Main Street Chanute, the Chanute Area of Commerce and of course the CRDA board of directors who put a lot of time and effort into helping local businesses grow and encouraging new business development.