New Job Growth Opportunities Announced At Jedo Meeting

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Good news may be coming to the capital city concerning job growth.

A Topeka organization announced several deals they say might quell employment concerns.

Go Topeka announced several business growth opportunities the organization hopes will succeed in bringing more jobs to the city.

Go Topeka said a "yes" vote from the Joint Economic Development Organization (JEDO) Wednesday night means new life for land previously deemed unusable.

Questar fueling is buying 24 acres of land for a natural gas vehicle fueling facility. It is located on 57th street west of the Target Distribution Center and will allow large company vehicles to switch from diesel to natural compressed gas.

"[It] could help them be more cost competitive," President and CEO of Go Topeka Doug Kinsinger said, "this will also be an environmentally friendly option."

The area of land is located in a wooded area with a creek running through it. Some concern was brought up in the meeting about water run-off. The fuel is compressed national gas and Kinsinger said it will not drain or spill into the creek.

"They will have to meet all city building requirements."

7 votes from the JEDO executive board allowed the proposal to go through.

Go Topeka hopes another company will be able to meet employment standards.

Alorica, a customer service company, says a new contract with Centurylink will allow them to add 280 jobs. Added to their current staff of 170 workers, it will get Alorica to a 500 employee goal JEDO set in 2009.

Alorica only receives incentives if they meet the 500 employee goal. Go Topeka hopes the number of employees will surpass to more than 600.

"We now need people who are interested in customer service positions to apply. The growth is limited by the quality of those employees," Kinsinger said.

Incentives will allow a uniqe Topeka operation to maintain 30 jobs. CEC Entertainment is renewing its lease in Forbes Industrial Park. CEC employs workers who refurbish and repair electronic games in national Chuck E. Cheese stores.

"Over $50,000 a year average wage positions they were able to keep, and they will be growing and adding more jobs," Kinsinger said.

While Go Topeka said it's all good news, they still heard voices of doubt.

"We are going backwards," south Shawnee County resident Carol Marple said. "We don't gain any really new jobs, we just might replace some that have already left. We have lost more than we are replacing."

JEDO also approved an infrastructure plan Wednesday night, for $3 million on gas, sewer, water and engineering work at the Kanza Fire Commerce Park.

Go Topeka receives about $5 million a year from a county-wide sales tax.


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