New Annex Bill May Attract Investors


A one billion dollar company might've closed in central Nebraska, but a new proposed bill is making one piece of Hall County land more appealing for developers.

LB-66, introduced by Sen. Ken Schilz, would authorize cities of the first class to annex certain non-contiguous property.

For Grand Island, economic development officials would look to annex the site of the Cornhusker Army Ammunition Plant.

Built in 1942 for the purpose of producing war ammunition, it was used for that purpose on and off for decades until the site closed in 1989.

Marlan Ferguson, President of Grand Island Area Economic Development Corp. said, "There already is some activity out there -- we have irrigated farm land, and a couple small businesses out there. That's because in 2007 the United States Government declared the CAAP clean enough to sell."

The County Reuse Committee selected Southern Power and the Grand Island Area EDC as the purchaser of those lands for industrial development purposes.

However, the land isn't annexed by the city of Grand Island, which means interested businesses wouldn't be able to receive Tax Increment Financing as a way to obtain funding for work.

"We couldn't annex it through the current legislation that first class citizens abide by, you can't annex land unless it's adjacent to and suburban by nature," said Ferguson.

The newly proposed annex bill, LB-66, would give any Nebraska city the right to annex former military land. Ferguson said some businesses had previously shown interest, and if annexed they may choose to develop on that land.

"They were looking at 400 million to a billion investments for a major project." The businesses would potentially contribute hundreds of new jobs. Those interested would also have been high electrical and gas users.

The amount of acres to annex remains in question if LB-66 is passed.