The Emporia City Commission authorized a pre-disaster mitigation grant application on behalf of Fanestil Meats during an action session Wednesday night in the Municipal Courtroom.
The grant — administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency — would assist the business in moving its processing plant operations — currently located at 1542 S. Hwy. 99 — away from the flood plain.
Fanestil owners Dan and Jan Smoots have been trying to re-locate the processing plant for the better part of a decade. In 2011, FEMA funding that had been awarded to re-locate the plant and turn the land back into a green space was terminated due to a clerical error.
“We applied for two grants this past year through the hazard mitigation grant program,” Kent Heermann, president of the Regional Development Association, said. “Unfortunately, there were more requests than there was money. This is another program that’s based more on the entire United States and it’s much more competitive.”
Heermann said the city and Fanestil shared in the cost of a benefit cost analysis study, which resulted in a score greater than one. That, he said, qualifies Fanestil to apply for the grant.
Heermann said the Smootses are moving forward with re-locating Fanestil’s processing plant to the same area where the Fanestil Meats Store — which opened in 2015 — is located at 4700 W. US-50.
“Their Phase 1 was to move out on W. Highway 50, and their plan is to move all the way out there,” he said. “They got a recommendation from the RDA to the city for performance-based incentives, and the city’s in the process of refining the incentive-compliance agreements.”
Heermann said those incentives are reliant on bank commitment letters, which he believes should be coming in the first quarter of the year.
“They could start constructing out there when spring breaks,” he said.
Should the grant be awarded, the city would take ownership of the approximately seven-acres of land on S. Highway 99. The land will be converted into a green space. The status of the application will not be known until Oct. or Nov. 2021.
Commissioners also approved a Kansas Department of Transportation Economic Development program grant application for a $700,000 project that would see improvements on portions of Logan and South avenues and Weaver Street that connect to Highway 99 and US Highway 50 near Industrial Park III.
The project is directly related to plans announced last year by Simmons Pet Food to consolidate its manufacturing operations from a plant in New Jersey to Emporia.
“More equipment will be moved in and there will be more people hired, so we thought this would be a good opportunity to leverage that capital investment and job creation to get some road improvements out in the Industrial Park III area,” Heermann said. “Some of the roads, like Weaver Street, are at least 25 years old. It needs to get a new overlay. South Avenue’s a little rough, so that needs to be fixed. Of course, Logan Avenue is worn away east from Weaver Street, so that’s what it’s all about.”
The grant would require a 25 percent match, so the city’s contribution would be a minimum of $175,000 with the state providing $525,000.
• Approved a contract with BG Consultants for the design of a water distribution model of the city’s potable water system, as discussed in last week’s study session. The cost of the model is $125,000.
• Approved the City of Emporia’s 2020 Legislative Policy statement
• Proclaimed Jan. 26 - Feb. 1 as celebrating Catholic Schools Week