A lot of work needs to be done before Panasonic builds a new factory in De Soto, Kansas

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The work is just beginning after Panasonic announced a new deal to spend billions of dollars on a new electric car battery manufacturing plant in De Soto. The new factory will be located in the former World War II-era Sunflower Munitions Factory. plant south of Kansas Highway 10. This site was closed for decades due to environmental concerns. KMBC obtained a March 1990 letter from the Environmental Protection Agency discussing a PCB contamination problem at the plant. EPA records also show the former munitions factory listed as a superfund site. Members of the De Soto Chamber of Commerce said the 300 acres where the new battery factory will be built have been cleared. However, some 9,000 acres in the area were contaminated. De Soto Chamber of Commerce Chairman Andy Jacober said all of this cleanup should be done by 2028. KMBC has been referred to the Department of Health and Environment of the Kansas to answer questions about security. of the battery factory site and ongoing environmental cleanup nearby. So far there has been no response. There is currently a long gravel road leading to the battery factory site. The Community College has been involved in the Panasonic deal since last fall. The college, along with other academic institutions, will work on an agreement with Panasonic to train the company’s workforce for the battery factory. This comes at a time when the labor market is tight. “It’s a challenge. It’s a challenge across the country right now. But with the right training, we can have the right fit between employee and employer,” said JCCC’s Elisa Waldman. Vice President of Workforce Development. The plant at its peak is expected to create approximately 4,000 new jobs in Johnson County. Like the labor market, the housing market is also tight. “We need housing. We have land. We need developers. We need builders. is also a real estate agent. Bryan Holloman has lived in De Soto for about 25 years. He was caught off guard by the plan to build the new battery factory. “I still like the quiet setting of De Soto and therefore any type of growth like this one makes me go oh no we’re gonna lose our quiet little town,” Holloman said. said he was wary of De Soto turning into a boom town, Holloman also sees the benefit. a said.

The work is just beginning after Panasonic announced a new deal to spend billions of dollars on a new electric car battery manufacturing plant in De Soto.

The new plant will be located in the former Sunflower Munitions Factory, a World War II factory south of Kansas Highway 10.

This site was closed for decades due to environmental issues.

KMBC obtained a March 1990 letter from the Environmental Protection Agency reporting a PCB contamination problem at the plant.

EPA records also show that the former munitions factory is listed as a superfund site.

Members of the De Soto Chamber of Commerce said the 300 acres where the new battery factory will be built have been cleared. However, some 9,000 acres in the area were contaminated.

De Soto Chamber of Commerce board chairman Andy Jacober said all cleanup work should be completed by 2028.

KMBC was referred to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to answer questions about the safety of the battery plant site and ongoing environmental cleanup nearby. So far there has been no response.

There is currently a long gravel road leading to the battery factory site.

“There’s infrastructure to do. Obviously, roads, sewers and electricity,” Jacober said.

Johnson County Community College has been involved in the Panasonic deal since last fall.

The college, along with other academic institutions, will work on an agreement with Panasonic to train the company’s workforce for the battery factory. This comes at a time when the labor market is tight.

“It’s a challenge. It’s a challenge across the country right now. But with the right training, we can have the right fit between employee and employer,” said Elisa Waldman, vice president. development of the JCCC’s workforce.

The plant at its peak is expected to create approximately 4,000 new jobs in Johnson County. Like the labor market, the housing market is also tight.

“We need housing. We have land. We need promoters. We need builders. said Kris Johnson, a member of the De Soto Chamber of Commerce who is also a real estate agent.

Bryan Holloman has lived in De Soto for about 25 years.

He was caught off guard by the project to build the new battery factory.

“I still love the quiet setting of De Soto and so any kind of growth like this makes me say oh no, we’re going to lose our quiet little town,” Holloman said.

While he says he’s wary of De Soto’s transformation into a boom town, Holloman also sees the benefits.

“Progress is progress. I like the idea of ​​adding industry here, especially with the sunflower factory not being used as it used to be,” he said.

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