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City commissioners hear Hostess plan, CVB progress during Wednesday meeting

City commissioners had a short study session Wednesday, the biggest topic on the table being the Hostess tax abatement proposal.

RDA President Kent Heerman presented the details of the 10-year tax abatement package to the commission. Hostess wants to build a $3.5 million, 36,000 square-foot warehouse, and add a so-called auto bake production line worth $25 million. 50 new jobs would also be added by this expansion.

Commissioner Steve Harmon said the timing of the announcement was perfect.

While there's no specific timeline for this project, Heerman said it would be nice to get this package approved by January.

In other business, commissioners touched on the Industrial Park No. 4 water and sewer projects, and the general obligation bonds, leaving them for further discussion later. The commission also decided to elect a city representative for the RDA at their next action meeting on Dec. 18.

Following the study session, commissioners met with the CVB for a luncheon at the Emporia Public Library. Interim Director Susan Rathke updated commissioners on the CVB's yearly progress.

According to Rathke, Emporia CVB promoted or assisted with over 200 events this year, and answered over 8,200 visitor inquiries. The TGT total for 2013 was over $503,000 -- 26 percent over 2012. The CVB website saw over 58,000 hits this year; 32 percent of those visitors used smart phones to access it.

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