by Debbie Coleman-Topi
Riverside in Platte County, a city with a population of 3,000, boasts a massive industrial park that, at 700 acres, occupies about one-third of the city's land.
The Horizons Business Park began life as a dream by community members and leaders and a sketch on a drawing board nearly 20 years ago, said Michael Duffy, director of community development for Riverside.
Today, the burgeoning area continues to grow, with new buildings under construction and new tenants being added until the park is full, which he estimates will occur in about 2025.
Businesses in the park are diverse and include Seattle Fish, a 30,000-square-foot distribution facility that will allow for efficient delivery of fresh seafood to area restaurants and grocery stores, to auto parts suppliers serving area GM and Ford plants.
The business park has spawned other developments in the area, including a new housing project located just north of the complex overlooking the bluff.
The recent addition of a 12,000-square-foot Food Truck Court allows workers to dine without leaving the business park. The court opened in August as Food Truck Friday, but due to increased demand, food trucks now serve customers each weekday.
Duffy said Horizons Business Park eventually will include additional amenities for workers, including restaurants and a gas station.
While housing starts have lagged, a nationwide uptick in industrial development during the past four years has only added to the popularity and growth of the complex, Duffy said.
"We've been fortunate enough to ride that wave," he said.
The latest addition is a 491,000-square-foot building, which, to date, is the largest building in Riverside and is expected to be ready for occupancy sometime this spring, Duffy said.
The park also has increased employment opportunities in Riverside, Duffy said, adding that companies hold job fairs in Riverside nearly every month.
The Horizons Business Park’s growing size isn't limited to space, but also includes people. In fact, the total employees who report to the park's approximately 15 businesses each day is equal to the city's population: both number about 3,000.
However, Riverside officials believe in limiting the city's eventual population "rather than just growing uncontrolled," Duffy said. They have set a cap of about 7,000, which is double the present population and would allow for growth while maintaining Riverside's small-town feel.
"That's what we think we can serve the best,” Duffy said.