Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly announced recently that Kansas has won Site Selection magazine’s 2021 Governor’s Cup. The Governor’s Cup award goes to the state with the most capital investment and the most economic development projects per capita. In 2019, Kansas was ranked 20th out of 50 states for capital investment per capita; in 2020, Kansas moved up to 10th; last year, Kansas tied with Texas for the No. 1 spot.
The Greater Manhattan region has contributed to and seen some fruits of that labor. In 2021, Wichita, Kansas-based Bev-Hub opened a new state-of-the-art bottling plant in Manhattan with nearly 50 employees and $25 million in investment. Additionally, Canopy, a spinoff from Kansas State University’s PEARS software program, announced the creation of a new software development center and Oklahoma-based Cimarron Trailer announced they would be expanding into Manhattan with a new manufacturing presence.
These three projects have the capacity to generate over 100 new jobs and over $30 million in capital investment.
“We’re thrilled with the advancement that has been made at the Kansas Department of Commerce over the past three years,” said Jason Smith, president and CEO of the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce. “Because of the labor advantages we have in the Greater Manhattan region, we think more people will begin looking our direction soon.”
Smith pointed to the 20,000-plus students at Kansas State University as well as over 2,000 separating soldiers and 15,000 family members at nearby Fort Riley as a large pool of diverse talent that companies can tap for a variety of projects.
Other ways the region is making strides to attract employers include:
- The passage of a 10-year economic development sales tax in 2021 to provide incentives to private sector companies growing in Manhattan.
- The development of an industrial park in Pottawatomie County adjacent to Manhattan corporate limits.
- The development of a speculative building program that incents private developers to construct large manufacturing and warehousing facilities.
- The expansion of both the Wamego and Manhattan business parks.
- Expansion plans for the Manhattan Area Technical College to train students for regional jobs.
“We believe we have the infrastructure in our region to leverage the success of the State of Kansas and generate a surge in Manhattan and Pottawatomie County over the next few years,” said Daryn Soldan, director of economic development for the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce.