The City of Caney will look to the Montgomery County Action Council for help in finding a grocery store to serve the community, following discussion at Monday night’s city council meeting.
At the same time, the council voted to suspend its contractual obligations with Retail Attractions of Owasso, Okla., a consulting firm which the city has paid more than $22,000 over the past year.
Mayor Dale McBride said he was disappointed with the results from Retail Attractions because he received very little feedback from them.
“They contacted around nine grocery companies on our behalf,” said McBride. “But I think they also had a whole list of cities they represented with those contacts.”
McBride said he would write a letter informing the company of the council’s wishes.
Brad Eilts, executive director of the Montgomery County Action Council, addressed the council offering to personally take on the search for a grocery store.
The City of Caney pays dues of $2,500 per year to MCAC, and it also collects larger amounts from other cities in the county, along with more than $100,000 per year from the Montgomery County Commission.
Eilts just returned from a Grocer’s Summit and obtained 30 to 35 names of grocery companies in this region.
In a related development, McBride announced that the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation (KHRC) had agreed to waive the restrictions on a 9-acre tract of land owned by the City. The land is located on the east side of U.S. Highway 75, south of the city limits.
A Caney housing committee originally purchased the land, using approximately $13,000 in private funds with another $100,000 added from a grant through the KHRC. It was to be a housing development, but slow economic conditions caused the project to be delayed for the distant future.
“The restriction on the land was it be used only for housing, but the state has waived those stipulations,” said McBride.
The letter from Dennis L. Mese, executive director of the KHRC, released the restrictions on the land’s use so it could be partially developed as a grocery store. Any land not utilized for the store could still be used to develop housing.
No repayment of the state grant would be required.
McBride said he would write letters to the private investors letting them know of the change in restrictions.
“I think everyone knows that a grocery store in that location would be a good thing,” he said.
Other information from Monday’s Caney City Council meeting can be found in the June 21 edition of the Montgomery County Chronicle.