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Special Tax District to Help Cover Wichita Ballpark Costs

New Wichita ballpark construction

Revenue from a special tax district will help cover Wichita’s debt on a $75-million ballpark for the Wichita Wind Surge (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), as the city council approved those plans Tuesday.

Currently under construction at the former site of Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, the new Wichita ballpark is scheduled to host its first game for the Wind Surge–the former New Orleans Baby Cakes–on April 14. With work continuing on the ballpark’s construction, Wichita officials have approved the creation of a new tax district that will help cover the city’s share of debt on the facility, along with costs associated with ancillary private development.

The special tax district is intended to help what is envisioned as a larger redevelopment of the surrounding area, as mixed-use development projects are being planned on nearby sites. During Tuesday’s meeting, the Wichita City Council approved a commercial development next to the ballpark that will be led by a group of downtown developers. Also, in a related decision, the city council signed off on a special tax district that will feature a sales tax increase of two cents on the dollar. Revenue generated within this district from the increased sales tax and increased property taxes from new development would be collected by both the public and private sectors, with the city to receive the first $10 million to help cover ballpark construction costs, plus a half-share of anything over $40 million. More from the Wichita Eagle:

The money from the sales tax hike and the increase in property taxes generated by the new development will be split between the city government and the private-sector developers.

The city will get the first $10 million to help offset the cost of the new $75 million ball park. The developers will get the next $30 million to help pay for their project costs.

Anything above that $40 million will be split 50-50 between the city and the developers….

The tax district stretches across most of the Delano business district and crosses the river to take in most of the WaterWalk property, minus the King of Freight headquarters building that used to be a Gander Mountain outdoor-products store and the condo/office building at the east side of the development.

The development plans approved Tuesday will be carried out by a group of developers led by George Laham, with plans to redevelop the site of and around an existing church next to the ballpark. It is expected that the development will feature a hotel, apartments, a mix of restaurants and retail, office space, and public plazas, with a new church also part of the plans.

Construction photo courtesy Wichita Wind Surge.

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