Transfer of Ellis shop advances
By RANDY GONZALES
Ellis County commissioners finalized their part at Monday's regular meeting.
Sometime next month, the Ellis Industrial Development Corp. will finalize its part.
Commissioners granted the former public works shop and 1.222 acres of land in Ellis to the corporation in Monday's meeting.
"Our main goal is to identify and acquire facilities, commercial development in Ellis," said Travis Kohlrus, a board member of EIDC. "What we've done a lot in the past, we'll acquire a piece of ground that the city already owns and build a building on it for a business that wants to start up, then set up arrangements where they buy that building back, over time eventually take ownership of it."
Kohlrus said an example is Wheelchairs of Kansas, which has three or four buildings in Ellis.
This project, which involves the historic former railroad building, is different. An expanding business will take over the county building.
"We visited with them, what their intentions were," Kohlrus said. "We went to the county, asked them if they could put together a proposal for them to look at, to acquire that building and transition it over to somebody who will create jobs in Ellis. That's what we're doing.
"What we're going to do in this case -- the building is basically free -- so basically we worked on an agreement with this company in Ellis to invest in replacing the roof, which is shot, then fixing the windows and stuff. What needs to be done to be inhabitable."
Kohlrus said the company looking to expand and take over the shop building is DC Services LLC, which is in the oilfield business.
The company will make a commitment to make building improvements, Kohlrus said.
"The next step is to sign an agreement, the terms we have arranged, then we will transition the ownership of that building to this company," Kohlrus said. "We'll just have that building for a short period of time."
DC Services needed the space for its growing business, Kohlrus said.
"They've got an oilfield service business already today, but what they needed this space for, they're getting into oilfield manufacturing," he said.
Chad Sproul, co-owner of DC Services, said preserving the historical building was part of the rationale for taking it over.
"We've heard a lot of positive things about it from people, taking it over," said Sproul, whose company will use the expanded space to refurbish oil field equipment.
As part of the arrangement, the company will provide a range of two to five new jobs in Ellis during the next three years, Kohlrus said.
"I am excited," Kohlrus said. "That building sat vacant for maybe three years, just continuing to deteriorate. It's nice to put a halt to that and turn that building around and make it alive and produce something -- and give back to Ellis."