Archive for Thursday, June 8, 2000

Oz contract could be completed very soon

June 8, 2000

A large piece of the Oz puzzle may be put into place within a matter of days.

Negotiations for the transfer of the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant from the federal government to the state and then to the Oz Entertainment Co. are nearing an end, according to Blaine Hastings of the General Services Administration. The GSA is overseeing the negotiations between the army and the entertainment company.

Oz developers plan to build a $761 million dollar theme park and resort at the ammunition plant. In exchange for the land, Oz officials have agreed to clean up the solid waste contaminants at the 9,065-acre plant.

Hastings said contracts for the land transfer are currently being drawn up and would soon be released to Kansas and Johnson County officials and to the public.

"We're finishing up negotiations now and we should shortly be releasing the contracts," he said. "We'll probably have those out within the next week or so."

The completion of the land contract would bring Oz developers significantly closer to finalizing their deal, but there are several more steps they must take before the project is a "sure thing," Hastings said.

"The sales agreement has to be approved by KDHE (the Kansas Department of Health and Environment) and KFA (the Kansas Finance Authority)," he said. "Then the offer will also have to be taken to congress and congressional subcommittees where they would review it. I guess you could say we're nearing the end of the beginning."

The KDHE will oversee the clean up of the land. Before the deal can move forward, KDHE Secretary Clyde Graeber must sign a consent agreement, establishing which parts of the land Oz must clean and the time frame in which it must be done.

Graeber has said he will sign the consent agreement once the contracts are complete.

Gov. Bill Graves also has a part in the deal. Once the land is transferred from the federal government to the state, Graves' office has to issue the authority for the land to be transferred from the state to the entertainment company.

When the contract is complete, Hastings said, copies will be placed in public libraries throughout the area and on the GSA Internet site. The Internet address will be made public once the information is posted, he added.

Those who go to the library to read the documents should plan to be there a while, Hastings said.

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