Despite strong concerns voiced by community members, the Manhattan City Commission voted unanimously to welcome the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility to Manhattan.
The matter was presented and voted on at the regular commission meeting Tuesday night in City Hall.
NBAF, which will be located southeast of the intersection of Denison and Kimball avenues, will be built in line with the Manhattan Urban Area Subdivision Regulations, despite public concerns voiced by community members.
Several community members shared anxieties about having NBAF built so close to homes and schools. They voiced concerns for the health and safety of the city and suggested commissioners wait to vote until the National Academy of Sciences delivers its safety report on the facility. Other citizen concerns included the possible increase in housing and home insurance prices for residences located near the facility. They also proposed a public oversight committee for the facility.
“After what happened with BP, I can understand America’s angst with the facility,” said Commissioner Bob Strawn. “This is an risky enterprise, but I believe the risks can be managed through runduncies and expertise.
“I’m not disrespecting anyone who doesn’t support NBAF, but most K-State faculty and community members I’ve spoken to support NBAF coming here.” I believe it’s the right thing to do for Manhattan, that’s why I’m comfortable with this motion.”
Strawn said he believes NBAF is a positive addition to the city and he is comfortable with the motion. Commissioner Loren J. Pepperd agreed with Strawn’s comments.
“We take risks everyday, I’m with the university in this decision,” he said.
Mayor Bruce Snead thanked the community members who spoke out for and against accepting NBAF.
“I think the issue was fairly addressed,” Snead said. “But that doesn’t mean everyone will agree.”
NBAF construction will begin this year and it is expected to be operational by 2015.
Commissioners also approved the Westar Agreement for the removal and relocation of infrastructure relative to the NBAF site and authorized city administration to finance the improvement from the economic development fund.
The final report for the ATA city-wide transit plan was presented at the meeting and commissioners approved it. The transit system is expected to be in place throughout Manhattan by the end of 2011. They also discussed the Grand Champions development public infrastructure agreement.
Snead proclaimed July 26 as the Twentieth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and July 31 as Kansas All-Star Football Shrine Day.
All citizens are encouraged to attend meetings or watch live on Cable Channel 3.
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