Lawrence council delays vote on bonds for Harris & Ford expansion project

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The City of Lawrence Common Council on Nov. 15 postponed voting on an ordinance that would approve up to $1.98 million in bonds to help chemical distributor Harris & Ford expand its 9307 E. 56th St. site. 

The bonds would be repaid by the company.

A public hearing on the ordinance is required before the council can vote on the proposal. During an Economic Development Committee meeting before the regular council meeting, Harris & Fort officials said the hearing is set for Nov. 27. 

Committee members agreed to meet again just prior to the council’s Dec. 4 meeting to review the proposal again and make a recommendation. 

The $20 million project would expand Harris & Ford’s existing facilities in the former Fort Benjamin Harrison base. Plans call for a rail spur and a new 141,000-square-foot distribution facility. 

According to documents provided at the Nov. 15 meeting, the rail spur would include 3,500 linear feet of rail connected to the CSX mainline that runs through Lawrence. A tank farm also would be constructed to hold products for the food and beverage industry. 

Plans call for a “beautification project” east of the existing building that would convert a pond and part of the grounds into a retention creek. That part of the project is intended to correct stormwater drainage issues in the area, according to the documents. 

Also during the Nov. 15 council meeting, the council postponed action on Ordinance 12, a measure establishing compensation for elected officials. According to the ordinance, the mayor would be paid $99,750 in 2024, the city clerk would receive $78,856, council members would be paid $16,275 each, except for the council president ($18,375) and vice president ($17,325). The ordinance has been assigned to the Finance Committee and has not yet received a recommendation. 

Another postponed measure was Resolution 10, which would establish an application form and evaluation rubric for community service grants. That resolution has been referred to the Grants Committee, which was scheduled to meet at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 15 but didn’t have a quorum.

The next regular Lawrence Common Council meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Dec. 4 in the assembly room at Lawrence Government Center, 9001 E. 59th St.


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