TOPEKA (KSNT) – A byproduct of a I-70 infrastructure project to replace the Polk-Quincy Viaduct means Harvesters – the Community Food Network’s Kansas Distribution Center will be forced out of Topeka by June of 2024.

According to the organization, the move should not change the quality or level of food assistance the center currently provides to its nonprofit partner agencies in Topeka, Shawnee County and the other 12 counties in northeast Kansas that receive food from this facility. 

Our number one priority is to our partner agencies and the neighbors they serve,” said Stephen Davis, President and CEO of Harvesters—The Community Food Network. “It is critical we have no disruption in the distribution of food to the communities we serve.” 

Harvesters current location must be relocated because the building will be demolished as part of the I-70 Polk-Quincy viaduct project, according to a release. Harvesters is working with the Kansas Department of Transportation to sell the current property.

After an extensive year-long search, the organization says it was unable to find a new property that met the organization’s specific needs, including affordable cost, convenient highway access, high ceilings (for warehouse racking), size (at least 45,000 square feet or larger), necessary zoning (for warehouse and distribution center activities), and availability (operational, with no interruption in service, in the timeframe required for vacating Harvesters’ current facility). 

“As a nonprofit organization, we want to be good stewards of our resources,” said Davis. “The most cost-effective solution for us is to purchase and renovate an existing building. We forecast that this will be much less expensive than building a new facility from the ground up or razing an existing building and then building new. The need for hunger relief remains high, and we want to ensure we can prioritize our investments in that area of our mission.” 

Harvesters found a building within 30 miles of Topeka that met its needs. The new location in Lawrence is close to the main I-70 exit at 1220 Timberedge Road.

The Harvesters facility in Kansas City, Missouri will remain where it is and operations will continue, according to the release.