“This is one of the toughest decisions I have had to make in the 22 years I have been with the city,” Commissioner Kent Smoll said during the city commission meeting Monday.
That decision was reaching an agreement with Rib Crib restaurant to come into Dodge City just east of the Trail Street Laundry on Trail Street.
Rib Crib had made a bid for the vacant lots along with Lopp Motors, to purchase the property.
“Thing is we have an existing business and a great community partner wanting the property and then another group to potentially put in a great restaurant. But if we are going to grow, we got to add new businesses.”
Mayor Rick Sowers added, “It’s a no-win decision for us in a situation where it should be a joyous decision.
“We are here for growth and we understand Lopp’s position but the energy from within the community to bring in a new business is key.” Commissioner Brian Delzeit said, “It is extremely difficult to decide because Lopp’s is an excellent home-owned company but I feel that when we started these projects here it was to generate new revenue and the community is screaming for new businesses to come to town.”
In the proposal listed in the agenda, Lopp’s offered $35,000 for the lot to Rib Crib’s $20,000. Lopp’s would use the property for parking new and used vehicles waiting to be detailed and possibly add a lube and truck repair facility while Rib Crib would also bring in an additional retail partner to go in adjacent with Rib Crib.
“Some of the possible businesses coming in according to the Rib Crib representative,” city manager Cherise Tieben said to the Globe on Tuesday, “would be Buffalo Wild Wings, Chili’s, Panda Express, Pizza Ranch, Spangles, Braum’s, Golden Corral, Perkin’s, Popeye’s Chicken and Schlotzsky’s."
“Again, these are possible businesses that would go in with Rib Crib based on these businesses being partnered at locations together with Rib Crib throughout the country. “Of the 7,000-9,000-square feet from the lot, Rib Crib would use half of that square footage while the other business would use the other half. The parking would go in on the north side of the property just south of the railroad tracks.”
According to Tieben, the proposal from Rib Crib regarding the taxes for the whole state that would be generated would be $60,000-$70,000 for real estate tax and $130,000-$170,000 for sales tax.
“Those figures would also be doubled because it would essentially be two businesses coming in,” she said. Commissioner Jan Scoggins said, “The community is telling us more business and it is heart-wrenching with whatever way we go with this.
“Lopp’s has been great for the community, Jeff (Lopp) shared with us how he has donated more than 7,000 turkeys a year during Thanksgiving but again, the community wants new businesses.”
Commissioners approved to seek a development agreement with Rib Crib unanimously.
The agreement would be part of the Heritage District that was part of bringing in Long Branch Lagoon, Guymon Petro, Fort Dodge RV Park and Holiday Inn Express.
The property was purchased by the city from Chaffin’s. According to Tieben, construction for Rib Crib is estimated to begin in spring 2018 with an opening in fall 2018.