City officials got a green light to move forward on their plans to build an AgriBusiness Park, adjacent to the Plant Science Center. According to a recent study, the park is a viable idea.
Results of the AgriBusiness Park study were presented at Monday night's city council meeting. Joseph G. Bannister, a commercial real estate consultant with Full Circle Advantage, L.L.C., made the presentation. The AgriBusiness Park would be located on the 50-acre plot of land adjacent to the Plant Science Center – an area once designated for an industrial park.
Bannister told council "there's a market in the area," but he advised that a partnership with Audrain County and the Plant Science Center would make the project even more marketable.
"It is not in the best interest of the city to develop the park. No one in the market is going to take the speculative approach to the park because of the financial restraints," Bannister said. His advice to the city is to find investors.
"It would be better to work as a team with the county and Plant Science Center. Collaboration makes it more valuable," Bannister said.
Bannister also told council that the Science Center's current tenant, ReLiv, has a "good business motto" and could "lead the way" in the AgriBusiness Park venture.
To get the AgriBusiness Park idea started, Bannister said, could take anywhere from 6 to 8 months, and another 4 to 6 months to close the deal.
"We've been talking to people. It's a good decision and you are headed in the right direction. You just have to continue to tweak and re-define your plan. Development takes time," Bannister said.
No action was taken by the council, but both county and city officials expressed interest in moving forward with the AgriBusiness Park idea. More discussions are expected.
In other news, the council approved a resolution authorizing the city manager to enter into an agreement for $10,000 on behalf of the City of Mexico with the Miss Missouri Organization for tourism funding. The resolution authorizes the Prairie Pine Quilt Guild to receive the tourism funding for an advertising campaign.
The Miss Missouri Pageant and Miss Missouri Outstanding Teen Pageant attracts visitors from across the state and draws visitors to area hotels, restaurants and local businesses. The Miss Missouri Organization plans to advertise statewide to promote the pageant and tourism to Mexico. Additionally, $2,000 will be used to advertise Mexico on the Miss Missouri Facebook page. The page already has more than 2,000 followers. The committee will also feature Mexico attractions, business and events on a frequent schedule. A tourism tagline will also be on the page.
The funds will be used to pay Mediacom for statewide market coverage of televised advertisement of the pageant. As a result, Mexico and what the community has to offer will be featured across the state. The Facebook marketing plan will be provided by Social Solutions by Leslie Meyer.
Council also passed two ordinances. One for airport consultant services at the Mexico Memorial Airport, Hagan Brothers Field in 2012, and a second for the city's participation in the Missouri Highway Safety Program for Traffic Enforcement.
Crawford, Murphy & Tilly, Inc. was hired to perform professional services at the Mexico Memorial Airport, which includes the re-marking of the airfield pavement markings and crack seal and seal coat portions of Runway 18-36. The Missouri Department of Transportation nor the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is a party to this agreement. CMT services will be for labor and overhead and will cost $14,000. The engineer's preliminary probable cost of the remarking and crack and joint sealing of the runway is $130,000. The annual budget allows $170,000 for these improvements. Council vote was 3 to 0.
Council also passed an ordinance authorizing the city's participation in the Missouri Highway Safety Program for Traffic Enforcement in the grant amount of $7,450. Funds will be used to replace and supplement the department's current radar guns that are approximately 8 years old and showing wear, and to equip officers with portable breath testers. Chief of Public Safety Susan Rockett said the addition of these two types of equipment will enable the department to confront the two target areas of speeding and operating a vehicle while Intoxicated enforcement. The council passed the ordinance 3 to 0.
Following council/public comment, the meeting adjourned into executive session to discuss litigation matters.
A Council Work Session was held prior to the regular meeting, and council heard an annual discussion about the Community Development Department.