Commissioner says Sedgwick Co. won’t meet Tyson’s “list of demands”

SEDGWICK COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) For months, it’s been the talk of economic development in Kansas, a new 320 million dollar Tyson plant.

After dozens of communities made pitches to Tyson, it came down to three, Cloud County, Montgomery County and Sedgwick County.

Now one of the first counties to express public interest is pulling back.

“It is more just what are the political realities in Sedgwick County and the Wichita region today, and let’s celebrate the huge win we had yesterday with Spirit Aerosystems,” says Sedgwick County Commissoner Micahel O’Donnell.

The talk of the town Wednesday was Spirit Aerosystems after it announced adding 1,000 jobs to Wichita and investing one billion dollars.

O’Donnell says. “You have unanimous support for Spirit, and Tyson was a controversial situation for us.”

O’Donnell says he recognized the large opposition from many communities in Sedgwick County but he says the biggest challenge would have been what Tyson needed from the county.

“At the end of the day I think we just evaluated what our economic development incentives are going to be, where they are going to put them, and Spirit was easy for us to decide,” explains O’Donnell.

He says two companies that size required many of financial incentives, and Spirit was who got them.

But he also says once Tyson narrowed its search down to three communities, he never felt Tyson was being direct about their timeline on making a decision.

“They kept moving the ball. I was joking that it was like Charlie Brown and Lucy and the football kept getting taken away from us,” says O’Donnell.

He says it is not a formal withdrawal but he adds the county won’t offer any incentives to lure them to Sedgwick County.