Archive for Wednesday, August 12, 2009

City council told grocery market study needed

August 12, 2009

The message two De Soto elected officials received after recent meetings with two grocers is a market study is the needed first step to recruiting a super market.

De Soto City Councilman Ron McDaniel and Mayor Dave Anderson met with a Lawrence grocer earlier this month and Monday with Ed Mcintosh, the developer of a grocery store that opened last month in Basehor.

Both the Lawrence grocer and Mcintosh said a market study would be needed to move forward with the recruitment of a grocery store, McDaniel said.

Anderson said no commitments were made at the meetings but he did relate the council’s interest in bring a grocery store to De Soto.

Anderson told the city council last Thursday the council would also need a market study if it was to consider incentives to attract a store.

The mayor estimated a market study would cost from $5,000 to $7,000. Councilwoman Mitra Templin suggested the council could dip into the electrical utility fund to pay for the study because of the issue’s importance to the community.

McDaniel said the two grocers suggested the city look to a grocery wholesaler who focused on smaller markets to do the study rather than the big wholesalers who have said they have no interest in De Soto until it reached a population of about 10,000.

McDaniel met with both grocers before arranging a second meeting with Anderson. The councilman said both grocers were interested in De Soto because it was without a store and was in the path of growth.

However, the Lawrence grocer had no interest in constructing or owning a building and Mcintosh “would prefer not to,” McDainel said. They also had no interest in De Soto’s old grocery store, he said.

McDaniel said he had spoken with other grocers — Aldi has no interest in De Soto, he said — and would contact others as long as the city was without a store. He said Councilman Rick Walker’s idea of a cooperative was also worth pursuing.

De Soto’s lack of a grocery store was one of the issues Lola Beery mentioned in her comments to the council at the start of last Thursday’s meeting. But Beery’s focus was on the De Soto Economic Development Council’s attempts to contact Dollar General headquarters about moving from its downtown storefront she owns to the empty grocery store building on Lexington Avenue.

The store brought a good deal of traffic to downtown De Soto that was important to the revitalization effort the city was considering, Beery said. The chain has a three-year lease on her property, she said.

In response, Anderson said those efforts, which went nowhere, were made at a request of a developer.

In other action, the council:

• Approved De Soto Chamber of Commerce Sara Ritter’s request for $3,499.97 from the transient guest tax fund to pay for expenses incurred from the chamber’s June Country Concert. Gate receipts fell short when rain threatened the event, she said. The request was approved 5-0 as an appropriate use of the fund that promotes tourism, but McDaniel did question Ritter about the chamber’s expenses and suggested those attending from out of town should be charged $5 more than De Soto residents.

• Appointed Max Atwell and Linda Zindler to the governing board of the Northwest Johnson County Consolidated Fire District. Both are now serving on the five-member board that is overseeing the merger of the De Soto Fire Department and Johnson County Fire District No. 3 that is to occur Jan. 1, 2010. The fire district will appoint the remaining three members to the governing board.

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