SHERIDAN — Sheridan Economic and Educational Development Authority administrator Robert Briggs presented city council with a proposed loan application Monday that would allow SEEDA to build a manufacturing facility in the Sheridan Hi-Tech Park and lease it to Kennon Products.
Briggs said Kennon is experiencing continued growth and anticipates it could add as many 50 employees to its staff by 2024; the company currently has 37 employees. The 11,000-square-foot building Kennon currently occupies on North Main Street cannot accommodate that kind of growth.
The proposed 40,000-square-foot facility would be built on a portion of the nine remaining acres in the Sheridan Hi-Tech Park and leased to Kennon, allowing the company to focus on expansion. According to a memo Briggs submitted to council, Kennon is estimated to pay between $5 and $6 per square foot during the lease.
The estimated cost of the project is $5.15 million. Briggs said SEEDA is planning to fund the project with a package of grants for which it is in the process of applying. The board is planning to submit applications for a $2 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Authority, which is available to “coal impacted communities.” The remaining cost would be covered by a $2.75 million grant from the Wyoming Business Council and a $400,000 loan from the Business Council.
The resolution SEEDA is asking council to support would authorize it to apply for a grant of up to $3 million and a loan of up to $3 million, which Briggs said was in case the estimated cost of the project is slightly higher than anticipated and so SEEDA will have flexibility between the proposed funding sources.
A public hearing regarding the proposed project will be held at Sheridan College Wednesday. Council is expected to vote on a resolution of support for the project at its Aug. 20 meeting.
• Community development director Brian Craig presented council with a proposed ordinance that would let Sheridan Memorial Hospital rezone its medical campus from R-3 to Medical Arts, which is a designation created by the city to accommodate the unique needs of the hospital. The MA zoning designation requires the hospital to submit a master plan to the city, which will guide future development on the campus. The hospital is seeking the rezone primarily so it can install new signs that will direct visitors around its campus. Craig said city staff is recommending the council approve the rezone request.
• Council told The Hub on Smith’s executive director, Carmen Rideout, and transportation director Steve Ainslie to proceed with a study that will determine the pros and cons of converting Goose Creek Transit, which is currently a department of The Hub, to an independent regional transit authority.
Turning Goose Creek into an RTA was recommended in a 2013 transportation needs assessment for Sheridan County; the move would allow Goose Creek to increase its funding and expand service.
The study will be funded with a grant The Hub was awarded by the Federal Transit Authority this year.
Council giving The Hub its blessing to conduct the study does not commit it to any action, but Rideout said any future decisions would require council’s approval, so The Hub wanted to make sure council is willing to consider the matter further before conducting the study.