PITTSBURG — Pittsburg State University’s Strategic Initiatives Unit is partnering with the Great Plains Development Authority to develop a new business model for the Great Plains Industrial Park in Labette County.

As part of a Federal Office of Economic Adjustment grant, Great Plains selected USI to assist in

analyzing and developing a new business model that can be supported both locally and regionally. The industrial park, which is located just outside of Parsons encompasses 13,951 total acres, of which approximately 6,800 acres are owned by Great Plains Development Authority.

The GPDA is funded through the OEA, but federal money is set to expire in the near future. Through the partnership, USI will work with GPDA, county and city governments, unified school districts and other stakeholders to develop a sustainable business plan for the future.

“We will facilitate discussions to find the most sustainable model,” Project Communications Manager from USI Sydney Anselmi said. “We’ll look at ownership options, what entity — or entities — hand maintenance and see what is most beneficial and most sustainable for future development.”

USI will be led by Chief Strategy Officer Shawn Naccarato, and present a minimum of three business models. Naccarato brings with him experience working with government entities, as well as business as he serves as PSU’s director of government and community relations.

“Our team at USI is excited to work with the Great Plains Development Authority on this important project,” Naccarato said in a release. “The mission of USI is to raise the profile of southeast Kansas and build upon our encouraging population and income trends. As the former Kansas Army Ammunition Plant, Great Plains played a large role in shaping the economy of this region and we believe an opportunity exists to shape the economy of the future.”

USI currently has an economic development strategy contract with the City of Pittsburg, and has performed similar services for other entities, but the work with GPDA will be unique.

“While we haven’t had a contract exactly like this one, we are familiar with the process and have the resources necessary,” Anselmi said. “We have a good relationship with Great Plains CEO David Mann, and we’re excited to get started.”

Mann said in a release that PSU was a perfect fit.

“Selecting Pittsburg State’s USI was jointly recommended by both the Great Plains’ Board of Directors and the Labette County Commission,” Mann said. “It is a natural fit for both organizations as we continue to strengthen our regional efforts and utilize our unique regional assets to grow and support all of southeast Kansas.”

As part of the agreement, USI will contract with Joe Dellesega, owner of the Dellesega Group consulting firm, who will facilitate discussions between various stakeholder groups. Dellesega will represent a neutral, unbiased base from which diverse conversations and interviews can take place.

This fall, Great Plains and USI will host “Discover Great Plains,” an event designed to give stakeholders a glimpse at the park and start conversations about its future potential. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to noon October 27 at the Great Plains Industrial Park.

— Chance Hoener is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be emailed at choener@morningsun.net or follow him on Twitter @ReporterChance.