Patch Tours NorthPoint Logistics Park In Kansas

EDGERTON, KS — Opponents of NorthPoint Development say the proposed Compass Business Park in Joliet will ruin the charm and character of their region. They say NorthPoint will mean thousands more semi-trucks on Route 53, causing more local roads and highways to crumble faster. They say NorthPoint will make their land worthless and barren.

a bench in front of a building: Joliet Patch and two other Joliet news outlets toured NorthPoint's Logistics Park Kansas City on Tuesday. NorthPoint wants to build a near identical business park on Joliet's southern edge. (C) Photo by John Ferak, Joliet Patch Editor Joliet Patch and two other Joliet news outlets toured NorthPoint’s Logistics Park Kansas City on Tuesday. NorthPoint wants to build a near identical business park on Joliet’s southern edge.

They also say NorthPoint will cause air pollution and ruin the peace and tranquility at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery.

These opponents, mostly non-Joliet residents who live near Elwood and Manhattan, have implored Joliet’s City Council to listen to their concerns and vote no on the proposed agreement with NorthPoint at next Tuesday’s meeting. Over the past few weeks, Joliet council members and city officials has made several trips to Kansas to visit NorthPoint’s existing development, Logistics Park Kansas City. On Tuesday, interim city of Joliet manager Steve Jones arranged a tour of NorthPoint’s business park in Kansas for Joliet Patch’s Editor, WJOL news radio station’s Kevin Kollins and staff writer Bob Okon of The Herald-News.

In Edgerton, Kan., NorthPoint founder and CEO Nathaniel Hagedorn also met with Joliet’s news organizations on Tuesday afternoon for about an hour. (Article continues below photo.)

a sign on a highway: Image via John Ferak/Patch (C) Provided by Patch Image via John Ferak/Patch

NorthPoint basically plans to replicate its Logistics Park Kansas City in Joliet, provided the Joliet City Council approves the project. “Look, people are scared, but a lot of it’s from the fear of the unknown,” NorthPoint’s CEO told Joliet reporters Tuesday.

He said the opponents of the Joliet development have been successful at spreading falsehoods and misinformation about NorthPoint. For instance, he said, NorthPoint will not generate any additional truck traffic on Route 53. His company is obligated to build a bridge and create a closed-loop transportation system ensuring that trucks coming to and from Compass Business Park will not be using Route 53 or other local roads.

“No bridge, no park,” he said. “We’re putting safeguards in place.” NorthPoint’s CEO told Joliet reporters that NorthPoint is not this “evil monster” that’s “horned or has tails.” But the reality of the situation is, he said, the Elwood and Manhattan-led opposition group has created a narrative using all kinds of false scare tactics to generate controversy and contempt toward NorthPoint over the past three years.

To Joliet’s credit, he said, city officials and nearly all of the council members have taken valuable time out of their busy schedules to visit Edgerton, Kan. to see Logistics Park Kansas City for themselves. “Elwood, Will County,” Hageborn told Joliet reporters, “nobody came.” As for Joliet, “They’re not making that decision lightly.

They’re not tone deaf. They’re all coming with the mindset, ‘Is this the right decision? “We’re really excited about this, and I hope we have the opportunity to prove to Joliet that we can be the business partner” they expect of us. “We have it on display here.

We’ve created a business model that’s going to work.” Edgerton Mayor Don Roberts also answered questions from Joliet reporters during Tuesday’s press tour of Logistics Park Kansas City. Roberts said NorthPoint has been a great community partner, creating 3,400 permanent jobs at the business park, which is near Interstate 35, and roughly 25 miles from downtown Kansas City.

(Article continues below photo.)

a man standing in a room: Edgerton Kansas Mayor Don Roberts says NorthPoint has been a tremendous asset for his small community. Image via John Ferak (C) Provided by Patch Edgerton Kansas Mayor Don Roberts says NorthPoint has been a tremendous asset for his small community.

Image via John Ferak

When a local man was killed in a car wreck, leaving behind his wife and three kids, NorthPoint “paid off the family’s mini-van, which was a £30,000 vehicle,”Roberts said. “It’s been a good solid partnership for our region,” Roberts said. “And not all development corporations are like that.” Back in Joliet, opponents have claimed that NorthPoint’s Compass Business Park will be overrun with temp workers stuck making minimum wages.

Roberts said the average starting wage of employees is about £17 per hour. He also said Kansas has an even lower unemployment rate than Will County and Joliet, and companies in Logistics Park employ very few temp agency workers. A key highlight of Tuesday’s tour was showing off the new housing development that abuts the Logistics Park.

The large development consists of dozens of owner-occupied single-family homes, and several new ones are under construction – right on the edge of NorthPoint’s business park. All of the new housing has occurred since NorthPoint opened Logistics Park in 2013, according to Patrick Robinson, vice president of development for NorthPoint. Showing Joliet journalists the new subdivision was essential to Tuesday’s tour, according Jones, because he says it shatters the myth that NorthPoint would create this vast wasteland of worthless and useless land on the outskirts of their developments.

The opposite is true, according to Jones. The new housing signifies that people are choosing to live in close proximity to NorthPoint. “We peacefully coexist with the community, and people are building new houses right next to us,” Robinson added.

(Article continues below photo.)

a house with trees in the background: There's plenty of new housing being built adjacent to NorthPoint since Logistics Park Kansas City opened in 2013. Image via John Ferak (C) Provided by Patch There’s plenty of new housing being built adjacent to NorthPoint since Logistics Park Kansas City opened in 2013.

Image via John Ferak

Many of the buildings within Logistics Park Kansas City are nicely landscaped, with lots of trees, shrubs and bushes on the perimeter. Many warehouses in the Joliet and Chicago area are drab concrete buildings without windows, but that is not the case at Logistics Park Kansas City where many of the business park buildings have multiple floors and lots of glass and windows for sunlight to enter. Logistics Park ‘s Kansas tenants include: Amazon, Spectrum Brands, Jet, Kubota, UPS, Coldpoint Logistics, Smart Warehousing, J.B.

Hunt, Hostess, Horizon Global, PAE, Excel Industries, Flexsteel, Triumph Group Aerospace Structures, The DeLong Company and Demdaco. The Kansas business park is located on the BNSF southern line, one of the busiest rail lines in the world, averaging 125 freight trains daily, according to NorthPoint. NorthPoint executives told Joliet reporters that about 4,000 trucks come and go from Logistics Park Kansas City on a given day.

Joliet would have about 2,600 trucks, they say. (Article continues below photo.)

a sign on a pole: Image via John Ferak/Patch (C) Provided by Patch Image via John Ferak/Patch

When Tuesday’s afternoon media tour ended, Joliet’s reporters and city of Joliet officials were driven back to the airport in Gardner, Kansas for a return flight to the Lewis University Airport. Moments before take off, WJOL afternoon radio personality Kevin Kollins told everyone in the group that he was shocked by the lack of traffic he saw on Tuesday inside NorthPoint’s Logistics Park Kansas City.

“There’s not an overflow of trucks, trucks backed up, trucks driving off the streets,” Hagedorn, the NorthPoint CEO, told reporters earlier that afternoon. In fact, what was viewed as a controversial business park seven years ago for Kansas, Hagedorn said, has turned into a non-issue nowadays. As for Joliet, “this is going to be a good park,” he promised. “Hopefully, Joliet will have the vision like Edgerton did.”

On Wednesday, Joliet will send another delegation to Kansas: City Councilman Terry Morris and community development director Kendall Jackson will make that trip.

Mayor Bob O’Dekirk, Don “Duck” Dickinson, Bettye Gavin, Sherri Reardon, Jan Quillman, Pat Mudron and Larry Hug have already toured the Logistics Park Kansas City property for themselves.

NorthPoint founder and CEO Nathaniel Hagedorn meets with Joliet reporters Tuesday at his company’s Logistics Park Kansas City.

Image via John FerakImage via John Ferak/PatchImage via John Ferak/PatchImage via John Ferak/PatchImage via John Ferak/Patch5/5 SLIDES

You may also like...