Parsons Sun, December 31, 2011
The Parsons Fire Department will continue offering protection to the former Kansas Army Ammunition Plant.
The Parsons City Commission approved a contract during a Thursday work session to allow the fire department to continue offering firefighting services to the former plant.
The U.S. Army is in the process of transferring the property at the plant to the Great Plains Development Authority. The GPDA already has received ownership of some of the land that will be used to develop the Great Plains Industrial Park. While the transfer date for the rest of the property hasn’t been determined, the GPDA needs a plan to provide caretaker services for the Army.
The contract the commission approved is the same as one in effect for Day and Zimmermann Inc., the former contract-operator of the plant. D&Z is the caretaker of the plant property now, but that will change with the new year, so a contract with GPDA was needed.
Fire Chief Larry Steeby told commissioners he’s not sure if D&Z will renew its contract for fire protection for its property in the park. D&Z is in negotiations for the transfer of 4,000 acres in the park to continue production there.
The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism also owns 3,000 acres in the park in the new Grand Osage Wildlife Area. Steeby said KWPT will be covered by area township volunteer fire departments because KWPT does not have a budget for a fire contract with the city.
In the future, the GPDA will sign a contract for a caretaker of the park, Steeby said, and at that time the new caretaker could contract with the city for fire protection services or rely on the volunteer fire departments.
Under the terms of the city’s contract with GPDA, the fire department will be paid $500 per run to the park, with Neosho Township, Oswego and Altamont volunteer fire departments being paid $300 apiece if they assist.
Steeby said last year was the busiest of three years under the contract with D&Z. The department responded to four or five minor fires, including one small structure fire. The runs lasted just a couple of hours at a time.
Steeby explained that if the fire department gets a call for a fire at the park, the department responds if it has available personnel. If not, a volunteer fire department is called to respond. The fire department will have only three firefighters and one truck at a time respond to a fire at the former plant, leaving two other trucks and other firefighters available to fight fires in town. The department also can page or text off-duty firefighters to report for duty if further help is needed.
The entire plant property covers 13,727 acres.
By Ray Nolting
Parsons Sun, December 20, 2011
OSWEGO — The Labette County Sheriff’s Department will provide roving and stationary security for the Great Plains Industrial Park, formerly the Kansas Army Ammunition Plant.
Starting Jan. 1, the sheriff’s department will have someone posted at the gate for 52 hours a week for 30 days. The Great Plains Development Authority can renew this contract on a month-to-month basis.
The sheriff also will provide roving patrols of the plant grounds by deputies, equaling about 28 hours a week. This contract will be for six months, but it could be renewed.
The Labette County Commission on Monday approved the contract for law enforcement services on a 3-0 vote.
The county will be paid $25,291.22 for the six months of patrol work and the 30 days of staffing the main gate, but this amount would change if the county has to continue staffing the gate.
The U.S. Army has not yet transferred remaining acreage at the former Kansas Army Ammunition Plant to the GPDA, but that transfer is tentatively set for next week.
Sheriff Robert Sims said he is considering deputizing retired law enforcement officers to man the gate on a part-time basis. Regular deputies would provide the roving patrols.