On Tuesday, the Wichita City Council will discuss a potential land sale that could facilitate development surrounding a new ballpark for the relocating New Orleans Baby Cakes (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League).
Set to open in 2020, the new Wichita ballpark is envisioned as an anchor for future mixed-use development in the surrounding area. To facilitate some of that development, the city is proposing to sell some land surrounding the facility’s site for $1 an acre to the group Wichita Riverfront LP. Under the current proposal the group, which features a contingent that includes Baby Cakes franchise owners–led by Managing General Partner Lou Schwechheimer–plus additional investors, would complete the transaction with the city and in turn develop the land.
It at one point appeared that the city council could vote on the proposal in the first week of March, but it ultimately decided to hold off until March 19. Ahead of Tuesday evening’s meeting, which could yield a vote on the land sale and development deal, Wichita officials are stressing that the opportunity will be available for the public to ask any questions that it has about the proposal. More from the Wichita Eagle:
On Tuesday, the City Council could decide whether to approve the land sale and development deal. The council moved its meeting to 6 p.m. to allow more people to attend and seek answers.
“So hopefully everyone comes with their questions on Tuesday, and even if we are here until midnight, at least the public will have a good understanding as to how we’re going forward,” Vice Mayor Jeff Blubaugh said.
“We don’t want the perception to be, ‘Oh, this is something that they just rushed through, and all the facts weren’t together, and the public didn’t understand what was going on.’ So that’s why we’re trying to make the best of it,” he said….
Wichita officials have said the land to be sold for development near the stadium is as much as 4.5 acres. But on Saturday, Longwell said the amount is likely to be less than that.
The new ballpark will be constructed on the former site of Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. The former ballpark has already been demolished to make way for the new facility.
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