A pending agreement among city, state and MU officials for extending Gans Road east through MU’s South Farms is one step toward creating a technology park at the agricultural laboratory.
The South Farms are immediately east of U.S. 63 and across the highway from the 489-acre Philips tract being developed by Elvin Sapp. The extension of Gans Road is part of a larger project that is expected to include an interchange on U.S. 63 and a major east-west thoroughfare.
MU officials have been reluctant in the past to discuss potential South Farms developments. MU is now embracing the Gans Road extension, citing potential economic benefits.
“The Department of Economic Development has been totally supportive, and they believe in an innovation-based economy, which is key to Missouri’s future success,” said John Gardner, an associate dean for the agriculture college.
MU hopes to attract research institutions and develop South Farms into a technology village.
Gardner said the Gans Road/U.S. 63 interchange would provide a more prominent entrance to South Farms.
The interchange and accompanying road construction are slated to be finished by 2008 and will occur in three phases. Phase one will be the construction of the interchange; phase two will involve extending Gans Road to the west; and phase three will extend it east through the farms toward Rolling Hills Road.
All phases of the project are contingent upon funding and voter approval of tax propositions on the Nov. 8 ballot.
“I see a vision for the college to do a better job, for the university to do a better job and for us to have a more intimate link with economic development in the state,” Gardner said.
The overall project is expected to cost roughly $17.8 million. Sapp and the city have agreed to front part of the cost and be reimbursed by sales taxes, which would be collected by retailers in a Philips-area transportation development district. The federal government has also budgeted $4 million for the project, and City Manager Ray Beck plans to ask the Missouri Department of Transportation to chip in another $4 million.