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Former Army ammunition plant could soon be home... - KOAM TV 7

Former Parsons Army ammunition plant could soon be home to industrial jobs

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More than 13,000 acres in Labette County, Kansas will soon be sold and slated for industrial development.

The empty fields, rail road stations and unused ammunition factories was once property of the Kansas Army Ammunition Plant and employed thousands of workers.

But now there are only about 100 workers.

"There were literally thousands of people here during World War II and then with the success of conflict with the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Desert Storm, there were less and less people that worked here because munitions got more and more sophisticated," says Dan Goddard, Chief Executive Officer of the Great Plains Development Authority (GPDA).

The GPDA is purchasing about 6,800 acres for future enterprise.

Several other organizations like an ammunition producer and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, will own the rest.

"We feel like the size of the industrial park is for development, while we preserve our natural habitat," says Goddard.

In the 1940's the U.S. Army acquired the land to develop it into a load and pack facility and within a year hundreds of buildings were constructed.

"It's a self-contained facility," says GPDA Chairman Bob Wood.  "It's got its own water treatment facility, its own sewage treatment facility and the infrastructure for those systems."

Once the property is purchased the GPDA will take time to demolish the existing contaminated structures and start industrializing the land.

"It's taken seven years to get to this point but it'll take seven years to get to the point where we'll start," says Wood.

"We feel that this entire facility, the entire 13,727 acres, is a very big asset for the entire region," says Goddard.

Wednesday morning the GPDA will pay the Army $50,000 for the property up front.  As the profit streaming from the land increases, $3.5 million in a revenue sharing agreement will be paid.

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