Archive for Thursday, June 12, 2003

Boyer’s initiative made to order for De Soto

June 12, 2003

State representatives are usually accessible. They are the lowest in the hierarchy of elected officials whom we elect to make decisions in Topeka or Washington. They can be counted on to visit local civic organizations and Chamber of Commerce gatherings to give their take on state issues.

State Rep. Rob Boyer has done those things admirably as a frequent visitor to De Soto. Still, it should be appreciated when a state representatives takes the initiative to go beyond their legislative duties to improve the lot of constituents.

Boyer's plan to organize a conference on entrepreneurism and life science initiatives that could find homes on the K-10 corridor. It is an attempt to plug the city into on-going initiatives in the Kansas City metropolitan area and the state of Kansas to attract life science companies or nurture home-grown start-up businesses.

It is a made-to-order initiative for De Soto. The city's proximity to Kansas University and its research possibilities gives it an edge few communities can match. Stowers Institute in Kansas City, Mo., the nation's largest private medical research facility, anchors K-10's eastern end.

The city has already had success in the life science area with the presence of Intervet. Other bio-life industries dot the K-10's route to the east. Finally, there are the possibilities offered by the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant. Whether or not the plan by Micheline Burger for a life-science research park is ever developed as she and TOTO Inc. envision, life sciences could have a future at Sunflower. Johnson County's Sunflower master plan sets aside considerable property in the northern part of Sunflower for a research complex.

The advantages offered by life science industries are many. They're clean. They are in an emerging and growing economic sector. With their emphasis on research, they offer high-paying jobs that can keep our best-and-brightest at home.

These possibilities haven't been lost on the De Soto Chamber of Commerce and De Soto Economic Development Council. The targeted industry study consultants completed for those organizations and the city listed life sciences as one of four industries that should become the focus of the city's recruitment efforts.

We salute Boyer's effort to encourage the entrepreneurism and K-10 smart growth on which he campaigned and encourage De Soto officials to take full advantage of the possibilities the conference presents. A start in that effort would be for the City Council to follow up on the targeted industries study's recommendation that the city align its incentive program with the study's results.

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