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Johnson County voters to decide on 'Research Triangle' measure

Sales tax could raise $15 million annually

In less than one month, KU will know where its immediate future lies for the Edwards Campus and its efforts to bring stage one clinical cancer trials to the KU Medical Center.

On Election Day, Nov. 4, Johnson County residents will vote on an issue known as the Johnson County Education Research Triangle, commonly referred to as the Triangle, a partnership of KU, Kansas State University and Johnson County.

"The Johnson County Research Triangle is an opportunity not only to be an economic boon to the area, but also to improve the health and well-being of all Kansans," said Chancellor Robert Hemenway. "Some of the brightest minds in the state would be working together to tackle some of the most important issues of the day. The possibilities of what we could accomplish together are endless."

The initiative would create an economic stimulus of more than $1.4 billion in the next two decades, intended to create a higher quality of life for area residents. New facilities would provide cancer research, food safety and animal health research, and business, engineering, science and technology degrees.

The three points of the Triangle include the KU Cancer Clinical Research Center in Fairway, the K-State National Food and Animal Health Institute in Olathe and KU's Edwards Campus in Overland Park.

For the Edwards Campus, the initiative includes expansion of 10 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in business, engineering, science and technology enriching a workforce that will attract and retain businesses. Research shows that, on average, there are 1,500 open jobs per week in these sectors.

The Edwards Campus' role also would enhance the growing relationship with Johnson County Community College, creating a seamless transition for adult learners from two-year programs at the community college to bachelor's and master's programs at the Edwards Campus.

Expansion of KU's Cancer Clinical Research Center would be a major step toward winning comprehensive cancer center designation from the National Cancer Institute. The center would provide more treatment options to citizens in Kansas, decreasing out-of-state travel in order to receive the latest cancer treatments. It would unlock millions of dollars in private and public donations and research grants.

"Johnson County has the opportunity to develop a 21st-century workforce, become a national competitor with economic viability for years to come and be a national leader in the treatment of cancer if proposition two passes," said Bob Clark, vice chancellor for the Edwards Campus.

Voters will decide if a sales tax increase of 1/8 cent -- about $15 million a year -- will be invested in the research potential of Johnson County. To learn more about the Triangle initiative, visit www.JoCoTriangle.com.

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