City Moves Forward with Redevelopment Plan for Woods Building

During the Fort Scott City Commission meeting Tuesday evening, the commissioners agreed to create a redevelopment district at the former Woods building, allowing developers to move forward with their plans for the structure.

Economic Development Director Rachel Pruitt said she has been working to bring in a grocery store and is now working on a deal with Queen’s Price Chopper, a family business since 1974 that has five other locations.

Joel Riggs, real estate director for Associated Wholesale Grocers and part of Super Market Developers, said the groups involved are moving as quickly as possible in order to have the grocery and retail store open by November.

“This is kind of the first step in a pretty long process in moving forward to try to redevelop the property that was formerly Woods Grocery Store,” Riggs said, saying the physical redevelopment is scheduled to begin in July.

With the city’s approval, a public hearing was set for the community to be involved and voice any concerns they have in the planning process. The first public hearing is set for May 2, with another to follow on June 20.

“It is a big project,” Riggs said. “It’s important to us…We are going to do everything in our power to move this forward as quickly as we can, but following all the rules and regulations that we need to.”

Riggs said it is a complex financing plan, utilizing Tax Increment Financing bonds, a public financing method that could waive the impact of certain taxes on the zone for a period of time as an incentive. Pruitt said the city will be working with the county and Unified School District 234, as the three taxing entities must come to an agreement on the TIF Redevelopment District.

Dr. Rick Kellenberger, owner of the Dairy Queen located near the Woods building, said they are looking forward to having new neighbors invested in that area.

“It looks pretty desolate up there right now,” Kellenberger said. “So we’re looking forward to that whole area blossoming and hopefully developing and being a one-stop area with all the retail that we have there.”

Other News:

  • The city gave an update on Memorial Hall, with Pruitt saying they may be nearing a sales agreement with Last Farmhouse Films, Inc.
  • A representative from 4-State Sanitation said they will begin providing a drop-off point for recycling beginning on April 3.
  • The commission gave their approval to allow alcohol sales during the Independence Day event to be held at the LaRoche Baseball Complex this summer.

5 thoughts on “City Moves Forward with Redevelopment Plan for Woods Building”

  1. Where are the tax breaks for the citizens of the town? Seems like all the city does is let outside businesses in and give them a free ride……And WHY does anyone need approval to put a grocery store into a building that was a grocery store?

    1. > WHY does anyone need approval to put a grocery store into a building that was a grocery store?

      I assumed that the city’s approval was necessary to do a Tax Increment Financing bond for the re-development.

      > Where are the tax breaks for the citizens of the town?

      Call the city and ask about the Neighborhood Revitalization Program. I think it lets you make improvements to your property and get a rebate on the taxes that those improvements would normally generate. So it is very similar to the idea of giving a business a tax break to invest in the town–except it gives a tax break to individuals that want to invest in their homes.

  2. Aldi’s would have been better considering this is a poor town! And the poor people have to pay for it. Might as well make it so they can pay the taxes by being able to buy affordable priced food. At least make something affordable. Geez.

    1. The city didn’t decide who was interested. If Aldi had expressed interest in coming to town I’m sure Fort Scott would have been willing to work with them. Personally, I haven’t seen an Aldi’s in the last decade use and existing building. They always build their own.

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