PARSONS -- Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer took a few minutes out of his day Wednesday to sign Senate Bill 185 into law at the former Kansas Army Ammunition Plant.

Senate Bill 185, combines to previous bills into one, and allows franchise fees up to 6 percent to be added to utility bills at the facility and gives the Great Plains Development Authority, which controls much of the former ammo plant, bonding authority to borrow money for infrastructure improvements.

Previously, a House Bill also gave GPDA the authority to offer 10 year tax exemptions to tenants.

The combined bills put the former federal enclave on a par with other industrial parks, which will help to attract businesses to the facility.

As part of the effort to revitalize the plant, GPDA has partnered with Pittsburg State University, and Director of Strategic Planning Shawn Naccarato said PSU will be helping to develop strategic plans for the facility, which will be a boon to all of Southeast Kansas.

“This park is one of our most significant resources,” he said. “Through working together this can be a place of which all of Southeast Kansas can be proud.”

The former ammunition plant comprises nearly 7,000 acres and more than 26 miles of railroad tracks, as well as thousands of square feet of extant buildings, which, along with the new authority granted to GPDA, will likely make the area attractive to business, something Colyer said was the goal.

“This cuts away burdensome red tape,” he said just prior to signing the bill. “This is where Kansas is coming alive.”

The Kansas Army Ammunition Plant was a 13,727-acre government-owned, contractor-operated facility, established in 1942, located near Parsons, Kansas. The plant produced ammunition during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. The plant was deactivated on March 4, 2009 as part of the Base Realignment and Closure, 2005. The plant was last operated by Day and Zimmerman, Inc.