TOPEKA, Kan. — Private investment, job creation and a facility focused on the future.
Wednesday was a historic day for the state of Kansas, and especially for the community of about 6,300 people in Johnson County where Panasonic will build that new electric vehicle battery facility.
De Soto city leaders say they have their eyes towards a prosperous future.
The Kansas Department of Commerce says more than 20,000 jobs will be created as a result of the Panasonic facility, and that has far-reaching impacts for this community.
That 20,000+ breakdown is as follows: 4,000 planned new jobs, 16,500 construction jobs, and possibly 4,000 additional jobs via suppliers and community business.
"We want our children in De Soto to go to college, or get prepared to have a job with a company such as Panasonic, so they remain in our community," Sara Ritter, the president of the De Soto Chamber of Commerce, said.
With financial and physical capital on the horizon, future growth for De Soto schools is playing out for USD 232 right now.
"Our school district, for a few years, had been a growing school district. And so now, we have taken steps to prepare for future growth," Alvie Cater, assistant superintendent of De Soto Schools, said. "Our school district is in the process of buying property for future schools."
Those families with young kids, and families moving to De Soto for those career opportunities, presents a real estate question that doesn’t have an answer yet.
"Housing is our next focus. Housing is a challenge nationwide and we want to meet that challenge as best we can on a regional level," Mike Brungardt, the De Soto city administrator, said.
A new chapter in De Soto’s story is about to be written.
Rob Daniels, a city councilman, moved there from Overland Park 17 years ago, and says today’s news is a game changer.
"Seeing this benefit that puts De Soto on the map saying, 'Hey, look, we’re a community to be a part of and be in, and we’ve got things happening,'" Daniels said. "And what it’s going to do for the community is just incredible."