Boonville Plans to Modernize Former Military School
Boonville officials think they have an offer that could turn the old military school into a profitable, new development.
"But the most important thing to see is activity, jobs, people moving around out here," said Ned Beach of the town's industrial development authority. "And, when you think about that, that's exciting."
The offer from a Kansas City development group would turn the school's dining halls into restaurants, administrative offices into retail offices, and dorm rooms into apartments. The same group is redeveloping Boonville's Frederick Hotel.
If the Kemper deal goes through, the town would pay the developers $1 million to start the project. Then, the developer would repay Boonville through leases and a final balloon payment.
But, that upsets some residents.
"You don't just go give a person money to buy property," argued Chuck Freeman. "The city is not in the loaning business."
But, Beach is optimistic and enthusiastic.
"It's a very large project for a city the size of Boonville, and that's why it's so exciting," he said. "These people have got the horses to do it, and they've got the ability to do it. So, it's exciting to see these types of folks come into the city of Boonville and look at us and see our potential."
This is the fourth offer the city has received for the Kemper property, but only the second which the city council has considered. The council will vote on a proposed contract in the next two weeks.