Six years ago, Marquette offered free land to any homeowner willing to relocate to the central Kansas town. It worked well enough that the town is making the same offer, only this time to small businesses.


 

Six years ago, Marquette offered free land to any homeowner willing to relocate to the central Kansas town. It worked well enough that the town is making the same offer, only this time to small businesses.

Thirty homes were built and the McPherson County town's population grew in the six years since it offered buildings sites for newcomers.

Now, the descendants of a family that helped found the town have donated a 20-acre plot of land that Marquette is offering to small businesses to expand and create jobs.

"We'd love to bring in a huge plant," said Steve Piper, Marquette Development Company president and former mayor. "But we have to be realistic in trying to attract some small industries that have potential for growing, like a business or manufacturing project that started in someone's garage and needs a little boost, one that can't compete with Wichita; something that will work for our situation."

"It's a positive thing and we're pretty fortunate, at least we have the potential," said Kris Hudson, Economic Market Development chairwoman.

Hudson leads the housing effort, which had 30 homes built in its first phase. Now in its second phase, the town has 10 more houses built and 40 lots still available.