On Thursday, June 17, the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) authorized up to $725,000 to remove hazardous materials from the long-abandoned Kuhlman Diecasting facility and to raze the vacant building. The resolution to green light the project was approved by unanimous vote.
Funding will come from General Fund Reserves as part of the county’s FY 2021-2025 Capital Improvement Program. Funds will be used for hazardous material abatement and razing the existing structure(s) on the site near 164th Street and Mission Road. The site is in an unincorporated area just outside Overland Park. The county is not acquiring the property of approximately 35 acres with the funding.
The Kuhlman site, including a 74,000-square-foot warehouse, was last operated as a metal plating facility before closing in the 1990s and going into bankruptcy. The Environmental Protection Agency spent more than $2 million in the 1990s to clean up soil contamination on the property.
“The abandoned facility fell into disrepair and continues to decline,” according to a briefing sheet detailing background on the Kuhlman property. “The county’s Building Code official, along with the Sheriff’s Office and other emergency service providers, have had to deal with fires, criminal activities and accidents occurring on the property for many years.”
Over the years, reports and complaints from residents have urged county action on the property, declaring it has become a neighborhood eyesore and a dangerous youth hangout with a Blue Valley middle and elementary school located nearby. It is also near the site of a 2020 triple-fatality accident on railroad tracks adjacent to the property.
Under an existing agreement with the liquidating agent of the Kuhlman Diecasting Company appointed by the bankruptcy court, the county received authorization to enter the site, obtain bids for hazardous materials abatement and demolition, and coordinate with state and federal agencies to ensure compliance with applicable regulations.
Awarding of a contract to complete the cleanup and demolition will require future approval by the BOCC. Staff expects to bring a contract for BOCC consideration in approximately three months.