With the addition of a new NCAA-class track and field coming soon next to the already very busy Green Sports Complex in Pratt, local businessman Robert Smiley sees a need and opportunity to add family friendly businesses nearby.
Robert Smiley, president of Smiley Concrete, presented a preliminary proposal to Pratt city commissioners at their regular meeting Monday for the purchase city-owned land behind Walmart Supercenter to develop a new business park, that would include a parking lot, across the street to the north of Green Sports Complex.
“It’s to add to what’s developing in the area,” Smiley said. “As I see the east side of town growing out there, I know that that’s maybe the place to be.”
Smiley had high praise for the city’s focus on youth activities that draw visitors to town and said he felt the business park he envisioned with eight to 10 family-style businesses would be an asset.
“We’re not just a town serving our own needs, but I see how everyday people we serve outside our community are becoming more reliant on us,” Smiley told commissioners.
Smiley said his goal was to have businesses providing family entertainment and food and drink in the proposed development, adding that he personally planned to open two businesses there if he is able to purchase the property.
Smiley also mentioned that, in addition to the proposed business park, the possibility of adding multi-family dwellings on a section of the land.
City Public Works Director Russ Rambat said the city would gain some beneficial utility easements from the sale.
City Attorney Regina Probst outlined the legalities of selling city property, advising that a finalized sale had to be done in public session with the sale price disclosed, but that negotiations could remain privileged and be conducted in executive session.
Commissioners seemed in agreement during discussion that the city should research the property value with Commissioner Jason Leslie requesting an appraisal of the property.
Mayor Doug Meyer directed City Manager Rick Eckert to meet with Smiley to open preparatory discussions for presentation to commissioners to consider in executive session.
In other business, commissioners:
—Approved request by Pratt Area Chamber of Commerce Director Kim DeClue for street closures on sections of Second, Third and Fourth Streets during Pratt’s Summerfest on Saturday, July 13 from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., which will include an evening concert at Merchants’ Park.
—Approved Ordinance 1903 concerning travel and tourism, following discussion with DeClue.
—Approved Ordinance 1904 authorizing the purchase ofa .30-acre parcel of land from the Karellen Larrison Trust for the purpose of constructing a pump station for the water main to the Pratt Municipal Airport.
—Re-appointed City Manager Rick Eckert as Director 1 on the Kansas Municipal Energy Agency Board of Directors.
—Recessed until Thursday when they will convene again at BTI for a Solar Farm Energy Conference, following which they will recess again until Monday, March 18 at 11 a.m. for the City/County Joint Meeting at City Hall.