Tallgrass expansion project gets help from City of Manhattan

A $5 million expansion project for Tallgrass Brewing Co. is getting some help from Manhattan taxpayers. City officials say this is one example of a bigger effort to help businesses in the Little Apple.

Manhattan City Council members voted unanimously Tuesday night to put $430,000 toward the expansion.

“Nationally statistics show that 80% of all new jobs created come from companies and businesses that are already in your community,” says Lyle Butler, President and CEO of the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce.

There’s a push in Manhattan to grow those establishments.

“I think that we do need to let our local businesses know that they are important to us,” Butler says.

In fact, there’s a staff member at the Chamber of Commerce whose job is to call up local businesses and ask them how they’d like to grow.

“We are not going to not go out and try to recruit new business and industry to the community,” Butler says, “But a clear focus from business men and women who live here and work here and own companies here, is that they want to make sure that we are effectively going out and calling on existing businesses to make sure we don’t lose companies.”

Deputy City Manager Jason Hilgers says the 1/2 cent sales tax, which was renewed in 2012 and split between Manhattan and Riley County will play a big part in that goal.

“35% of our portion goes toward the debt service and it’s there to reduce our mill levy, 65% is then split between infrastructure and new jobs,” Hilgers says.

He estimates this expansion will create about 40 new jobs and the $430,000 in incentive funds will be made up and then some in the long run.

“We’ve seen some good returns and we hope this will be the first of many for the next 10-year period,” Hilgers says.

Part of the $430,000 is a forgivable loan – the other part is funding that will be awarded once the expansion is complete and jobs are created.
Tallgrass plans to begin its expansion project in a vacant lot in Technology Circle, next to the Manhattan Regional Airport.

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