Manhattan, Kansas, continues to invest in economic development, maintaining its reputation as a leading community in the Midwest for job creation and community enhancements.
The City of Manhattan first passed an economic development sales tax in 1994 and has seen the initiative renew on multiple occasions. Over its nearly 30 years of existence, the funds generated by the sales tax have helped the community attract projects that have created thousands of jobs and over $1 billion of investment.
“Helping existing businesses stay viable or expand while retaining our local workforce will help maintain economic vitality and keep the community strong,” said Manhattan City Manager Ron Fehr. Furthermore, the funds will assist in attracting new businesses to Manhattan that help attract new talent and retain existing talent.”
The most recent success using economic development funds was in 2020 with the location of a new co-packaging plant at the Manhattan Business Park. The Kansas-based bottling company Bev-Hub plans to create nearly 40 jobs and invest $25 million in Manhattan. The Manhattan City Commission approved the application for incentives with an enthusiastic 5-0 vote.
The largest project supported by the ED tax is the ongoing construction of the new National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF), a BSL-4 facility that will be the country’s foremost animal disease research facility. Manhattan secured the $1.2 billion, 400-job USDA facility after a nationwide search.
In addition to jobs projects, the funds from the new sales tax will help facilitate redevelopment of Manhattan’s oldest business and entertainment district, Aggieville, a mixed used area directly adjacent to K-State (read more below). Funds will also go toward the development of a new research and innovation corridor near NBAF and K-State as well as facilitate reconstruction of the Manhattan Regional Airport Runway, which serves Dallas and Chicago with daily jet service from American Airlines.
Finally, 10 percent of the funds will be used to support workforce housing initiatives as the community ramps up efforts to attract and retain talent.
“This is a clear statement from the community that we want to be competitive for jobs in the new economy,” said Jason Smith, president and CEO of the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce.