A new cement plant and retail landscaping business is set to develop land in Flynn Industrial Park.

The Parsons City Commission approved the sale of about 6 acres of land in the park for $10,000 to Ed O’Brien, who wants to open Ed’s Ready Mix on the land between Ottawa Road and Flynn Drive. The property is part of 26 acres the city has held in reserve for the possible expansion of Old Dominion Freight Line. It is on the north end of that land, and Old Dominion had no problem with the sale.

The commissioners also approved the city paying about $1,600 for a survey of the undeveloped land. Tap fees and permit fees will be waived, and O’Brien will benefit from the neighborhood revitalization program in the U.S. 59 and U.S. 400 area that offers a 10-year tax abatement on commercial property improvements.

Commissioner Tom Shaw had questions about the potential traffic generated by the cement plant on Monday. O’Brien said he would only run two or three cement trucks in the operation. Shaw had thought there would be six to eight.

“It’s going to be hard for me to sustain that many trucks. It’s realistic to say I’ll have two trucks or three trucks. You can get a lot of work done with three trucks,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien said the trucks would make probably two runs per day. Although traffic can be “tight” at Flynn Drive and North 16th Street (U.S. 59), O’Brien doesn’t foresee traffic being a problem. He likely will have the trucks enter the cement plant from Ottawa Road on the west and leave by Flynn Drive on the east. Because his business will be a relatively small operation compared to larger cement plants, O’Brien said people likely won’t notice any extra traffic.

Shaw thought with the potential of a wind farm being built in Labette County, O’Brien would be busier than anticipated, but O’Brien said the bigger companies usually handle those type of projects. O’Brien plans to take up the slack by providing cement to homeowners and small businesses.

“I’m just a small operator that sees an opportunity to make a little money. That’s all I’m trying to do,” O’Brien said.

Shaw said O’Brien’s answers about his traffic questions satisfied his concerns.

Commissioner Leland Crooks wanted to know more about the landscaping portion of the business. He asked if O’Brien would sell decorative rock. O’Brien said he has a stockpile of rock and mulch that he plans to sell at the business. Crooks also asked if O’Brien would have 1-yard cement trailers available because people had asked Crooks if they could rent those from his company, Grand True Value Rental. Crooks doesn’t want to buy the trailers, but O’Brien said he does have some.

In other business the commissioners:

— Decided to meet at 12:30 p.m. instead of 4:30 p.m. for the Dec. 31 work session.

— Amended the 2020 budget to reflect higher expenditures than budgeted in the sanitation fund. The commissioners budgeted $1,039,650, but the city spent $1,165,650. The commission approved the unbudgeted purchase of a trash truck this year, and tipping fees were more expensive than planned because of an increase in trash and bulk items collected.

— Heard Commissioner Kevin Cruse thank the volunteers for the Stella Wells Christmas Basket program that gives low-income families boxes of food and gifts for Christmas. City Manager Debbie Lamb said the program served 700 families this year.

— Heard Crooks thank local health care workers for their hard work in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, which has worsened recently. “These people are knocking themselves out trying to keep people healthy, trying to keep people alive. The amount of stress they’re under is unbelievable. It is just … It is heartbreaking to read about,” Crooks said.

— Heard from Assistant Police Chief Dennis Dodd that this year’s Shop With a Cop program was expanded to include 25 children instead of 15. The event was on Sunday. Besides the Parsons police, the Labette County Sheriff’s Office, the Kansas Highway Patrol and the Parsons Fire Department participated. “Honestly, I think the officers and firefighters look forward to it more than the kids,” Dodd said. Each year, he said, more people call wanting to volunteer. More donations for the program came in even as the officers and firefighters were shopping.

— Approved payment of $3,225 to BG Consultants Inc. for work on a stormwater drainage improvement project. The city is repairing and upgrading the two stormwater pump stations on the Labette Creek levee.

Approved payment of $975 to HDR Engineering Inc. for the design of a wastewater treatment plant peak-flow pump station.

— Approved payment of $36,696.79 to Heck & Wicker Construction Inc. for work on the 16th Street project from Clark Avenue to Broadway Avenue.

— Approved firefighting contracts for Paul Bogner at 15635 20th Road and Dale and Arnona Bogner at 2155 U.S. Highway 59.

— Approved an ordinance and resolution to authorize the issuance of general obligation refunding and improvement bonds totaling $3,750,000. The bonds will refinance bonds issued for street projects at a lower interest rate and also fund new street projects partially funded by Kansas Department of Transportation grants.

— Approved cereal malt beverage licenses for 2021 for several local businesses.

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