|Sen. Roberts Proposes Land Transfer Legislation|
Roberts said his bill calls for the transfer of 2,800 acres of the 9,065-acre former ammunitions plant to the JCPRD. The District has long sought land at the facility - beginning in 1989 - and welcomed Roberts' assistance.
The 2,800 acres is located on the edges of the ammunition plant and served as a buffer zone to the facility and was thereby largely spared contamination from years of propellant production which plagues other portions of the property.
"Tucked away in this buffer are hundreds of acres of what Johnson County looked like 100 years go - creeks crisscrossing plains and hills, hardwood forests sheltering many birds and animals, along with good old Kansas Prairie," Roberts said. "With this land, Johnson County will be closer to its goal of having a streamway parks system running from the Kansas River all the way to the Miami County border."
Nevertheless, Roberts said his bill would include "appropriate language" to reinforce the Army's duty to clean up any contaminants.
The proposed transfer would expand the JCPRD's Kill Creek Regional Park, which opened in November 2001 with 850 acres. District officials already have a plan in place for the new property. As an expansion of the abutting Kill Creek Park, the property would be left largely undeveloped with hiking and biking trails and possibly some sporting fields in the northeast area.
Roberts said his bill would begin its legislative journey when the Senate reconvenes on April 9 and he would monitor the matter closely to make sure it does not get bogged down in bureaucratic wrangling. He added that if the matter does not proceed quickly enough, he could introduce legislation in the Senate's Armed Services Committee, on which he served.
Also present at the March 25 press conference was U.S. Representative Dennis Moore, who said he would introduce a companion bill in the House.