By Stephen Mayer, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
OLATHE, KS (KCTV) -
For nearly 20 years there have been ideas, arguments and even court cases over what to do with an Olathe property.
It may not look like much at first, but the huge chunk of land at West 143 Street and South Pflumm Road has a lot of potential. But now one local resident has a plan he says will suit everyone's needs.
"It is really kind of prime land for Olathe going green," said Bill Nigro, who lives just across the street from the 40-acre tract of land that has garnered a lot of attention lately.
Neighbors turned out in full force Monday night to voice their opposition to the latest development proposal, the Wheatley Hills project, which calls for about 250 homes along with business space including banks, restaurants and gas stations.
They are mainly worried about increased traffic on West 143rd Street.
But Nigro said his Blue Valley Agro proposal solves all that.
"I'd like to divide all the land up into 10 equal size plots with little half-acre ponds on each one," he said.
Nigro said this land is perfect for a new agriculture course available to all Blue Valley high schools.
He envisions each school getting their own plot with students facing off in a competition to produce the best crops, all while using renewable energies, with the winner taking home the coveted "Green Cup."
He said he has even received support from those beyond their high school days.
"When I first started showing this program even to some seniors, they say, 'Hey, how can we help.' We can teach them how to drive a tractor. And one said, 'Let us compete, and if we win, we get a silver cup,'" Nigro said.
Nigro said his plan keeps homes and other obstacles out of the final approach path of aircraft as they land at Johnson County Executive Airport. It is a concern that has kept the county from signing off on the developer's proposal.
He said he is willing to double or triple the property owner's initial investment, so they can walk away in the black. But so far, he said they won't even give him an asking price.
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