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USDA Rural Development and Recovery Act Funding Finance Industrial Park Improvements and Create Jobs in Southeast Kansas

Ribbon Cutting:  Left to right: Robert O’Kelly, Mayor of Parsons, Kansas; Deb Miller, Kansas Secretary of Transportation; Patty Clark, State Director, USDA Rural Development; Carolyn Kennett, Economic Development Director for City Parsons; Fred Gress, Parsons City Manager

Ribbon Cutting: Left to right: Robert O’Kelly, Mayor of Parsons, Kansas; Deb Miller, Kansas Secretary of Transportation; Patty Clark, State Director, USDA Rural Development; Carolyn Kennett, Economic Development Director for City Parsons; Fred Gress, Parsons City Manager

Earlier this week, USDA Rural Development staff  joined the Kansas Department of Transportation and the City of Parsons, to celebrate the official opening of Giefer Drive and Tolen Creek Industrial Park as well as the completion of the US 59 Recovery Act Highway Project.

This project demonstrates the collaboration between federal, state and local government to benefit private-sector business and spark job creation in a regional economy where unemployment is 25-35 percent higher than the rest of the state.

Tolen Creek Industrial Park improvements were financed through a USDA Rural Development  loan and grant provided through the Rural Economic Development Program (REDLG).  Recovery Act Funding administered by the Kansas Department of Transportation financed the construction of highway improvements leading from Tolen Creek to US Highway 59.  The City of Parsons contributed $1 million to the project.

Tolen Creek Industrial Park is the new home for Tank Connection, a manufacturing firm that builds and installs tank systems.  The company was founded in Parsons by Mike Geifer and Bill Neighbors as an engineering firm designing tank systems.  The company has grown into an international firm selling and installing tank systems worldwide.  Tank Connection outgrew their original facility and moved to the new industrial park with plans to add 55 new jobs.  According to Neighbors, the USDA and Recovery Act funds are helping Tank Connection reach its full potential as a rural-based, globally competitive company.

In addition to the permanent job creation, the infrastructure improvement projects created 41 construction jobs and increased business revenues to many local suppliers and subcontractors.

Geifer Drive was named to honor of Mike Geifer who suffered a fatal aneurysm as Tolen Creek was being constructed.  Geifer personified the best qualities of a rural entrepreneur, community business leader and community volunteer.  His life-long contributions to the city of Parsons and his family were recognized during the event.  According to Geifer’s family, the company’s growth and the public/private partnership with all levels of government to complete Tolen Creek would have made him proud.

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