Abandoned Army ammunition plant in Johnson County won’t be fully cleaned until 2028

JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. -- A sprawling tract of land just outside the metro won't be ready for homes, shops or offices anytime soon. Cleaning up the old Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant is taking longer than local leaders would like.

The facility stretches across 15 square miles of land just south of K-10, near De Soto, Kansas. For 50 years, Sunflower supplied the Army with chemical propellants used the shoot shells and rockets. The facility was big enough to need it's own power plant, water treatment plant, landfill, and burn pits.

The Army looked to sell it in 1997. A developer proposed turning it into a Wizard of Oz theme park. But after that idea fizzled out, a local real estate company created Sunflower Redevelopment LLC and bought the plant from the Army in 2005.

After five years of work, a payment dispute stopped the clean-up. The Army eventually resumed clean-up work in 2015.

The Army says one corner of the property could be ready for development by 2021. But cleaning the entire property is supposed to take until 2028. Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran and Rep. Kevin Yoder are leaning on the Pentagon to speed up the process.