Gardner residents say no to BNSF annexation ban
Voters in Gardner rejected a measure that would have prevented the city from annexing 1,300 acres southwest of the city on which the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad hope to build an intermodal and warehouse complex.
The no vote, which would allow annexation, won by a large margin. The final count was 'no' 2,903 votes to 1,108 votes for the 10-year ban.
Supporters of the ban said the yard to load and off load truck containers and adjacent warehouses and distribution centers of the BNSF's large customers would adversely affect the quality of life in the southwest Kansas community. They also questioned the public financing the project would require.
Those wishing to annex the property argued it would give Gardner greater control over the development and noted the benefit of the 7,500 jobs the project would bring to Johnson County.
BNSF hopes to start operations in the yard, which will replace an outgrown complex in Kansas City, Kan., in 2008.
Johnson County Commissioner Doug Wood has said the intermodal and warehouse complex would likely step up the construction of a north-south link from Interstate 35 to Kansas Highway 10 through the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant.