OSWEGO – The Sedgwick County Commission on Wednesday cleared a request to be sent to the federal government to operate a foreign trade zone in the Great Plains Industrial Park east of Parsons.
Watco of Pittsburg submitted the request to the Wichita commission. The U.S. International Trade Office will receive the application and place it on the register of the Foreign Trade Zone Council, which will decide whether the subzone can operate in the industrial park. The subzone would give companies a place to store products without the tariffs or quotas applied to foreign goods entering the country. These cannot be applied in a free zone, as these zones are considered outside the United States, although they exist within its borders. The free zone offers companies the advantage of buying in bulk, and the items will be stored in a free zone for about a year before the product is moved. At that point, businesses would have to pay the tax, but they could have taken advantage of the fact that these funds would remain in their accounts for an additional year.
Brad Reams, industrial park manager, hopes to have a decision on the FTZ app by mid-August.
“This is another positive step taken by the GPDA (Great Plains Development Authority) in the development of the Great Plains industrial park. Obtaining FTZ subzone status opens up significant investment opportunities for GPIP. It also allows foreign and domestic companies to capitalize on the valuable infrastructure and central location of GPIP in the United States, ”Reams said in a statement Wednesday.
Reams and Becky Dantic, manager of the Great Plains property, spoke to Labette County commissioners this week about the progress of the subzone.
Originally, Watco worked with the Greater Kansas City Free Zone on the Parsons Subzone. But Reams told county commissioners that Kansas City could only review applications inside the metropolitan area, and areas outside of Kansas City would go through the Sedgwick County Commission.
“The International Trade Bureau has reviewed our draft request. The only thing that has changed is from Kansas City to Sedgwick County probably in the last four or five months, ”said Reams.
He said there was a need for multi-tenant storage in this region and in the quad-state area.
“So we can provide that to different companies,” he said.
Commissioner Lonie Addis asked what facilities were available in the park and whether new construction would be needed for storage.
“It will really depend on what we have in terms of demand. At present, the warehouses in the 1400 zone are all full. Most of them will be full for another year until next September, ”said Reams.
There is room for a storage yard if the goods can be stored that way, he said.
Commissioner Brian Kinzie asked about the amount of space available in the park.
Reams said the park has 650,000 square feet available for storage, not including the area available for a yard. He said Great Plains should have a conversation about financing new construction if it is needed in the future. Most modern storage needs include 30 foot ceilings, and these buildings may need anywhere from 500,000 to 1 million square feet. He said there were 28 acres available east of the 1400 zone for a yard that has easy rail access, but it’s deep enough in the park.
Another option is Zone 100, where the old administration building was located in the old Kansas Army munitions factory.
“There are several options, but first we have to find these customers. And I think the most optimal thing for people in this area would probably be smaller, like 2,500 square feet, to store the things they import to improve their bottom line, ”Reams said.
He said the FTZ app shows 138 acres available in the park for free zone status. The requirement is to have 50 acres.
Reams said Great Plains was ahead of security measures in large fences around park properties, but building-level security measures may need to be considered depending on the product.
Jim Zaleski, director of economic development at Parsons, asked commissioners for permission to send a request for quotes to companies that could conduct a study on broadband internet service in Labette County and how businesses existing or new ones could improve fiber-based service across the county.
There are four companies that provide fiber internet access in the county, he said. But fiber connectivity is not accessible to everyone. Wave Wireless is in the process of building its fiber network for some rural areas of the county.
He said he will submit a request for proposals through Grow Labette, which markets Parsons, County and Great Plains.
Zaleski hopes to find companies that have done studies on fiber-based Internet services and find out how much such a study would cost.
He said the next US bailout, which is the next stimulus package coming to the states, will include a broadband option, so he believes the price request will position the county to take advantage of that flow. potential funding.
Zaleski said funding for the actual study is a conversation as the price requests come in.
The commissioners agreed to allow Grow Labette to send the requests.