Anderson’s plan should get the ball rolling
De Soto Mayor Dave Anderson put himself on the line recently when he unveiled an alternate plan for the redevelopment of the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant.
According to Anderson's proposal, Johnson County would issue bonds to pay for the Army's continued cleanup of Sunflower. The remediated land would provide collateral for the bonds. Developers, including Oz, would be free to make proposals for Sunflower property. Prior to any sale, the property would have an independent appraisal, which could add a surcharge for cleanup costs and possible infrastructure improvements.
Anderson's plan was met with skepticism by Johnson County commissioners Annabeth Surbaugh and Doug Wood. Both say the county must first make a decision on the Oz redevelopment proposal.
The issue is a complicated one and Anderson was the first to admit details would have to be ironed out. It seems the mayor was simply trying to get people thinking in a different direction.
We may not agree with everything Anderson proposed, but we applaud his initiative and his willingness to put forth an idea. If the proposal prompts discussion and thought on the issue, only good things can follow.
It's doubtful that the mayor expected the commissioners to take his plan and run with it. If Anderson were to gain support for his proposal, it would undoubtedly be revised many times. However, if it cracks open the door for De Soto to get more involved in the future of the plant; great. If it motivates people to begin thinking of alternate ways of returning the land to public use if the Oz proposal ultimately fails; great.
The future of the ammunition plant will greatly influence the future of De Soto. It's easy to criticize those who come forward with new ideas, and as long as its done in a constructive way, that's fine. However, we hope those opposed to Anderson's proposal will get busy on one of their own.
TOTO has come up with a plan. Anderson's could be a positive compromise for those not wanting to side with either the "environmental nuts" or the "greedy big business mogul."
What we want: De Soto's elected officials to be thinking: What's our role in this? Regardless of whether Oz is approved or denied, why did it take so long for the city to put forth a plan for land that will help determine the fate of this city?