The Kansas Commerce Department has approved the expansion of a sales tax district to finance improvements at a northeast Wichita sports complex.
The city is expanding a district for STAR Bonds to help with improvements for the Stryker Soccer Complex and the Northeast Sports Complex at 29th Street North and Greenwich Road. Plans call for the addition of baseball and softball fields, an indoor multi-sport facility and other improvements to create a complex for regional sports events. The city council approved the project last November.
City council member Pete Meitzner, speaking at Mayor Jeff Longwell's weekly news conference at city hall, said the project will put Wichita on a regional and national stage for youth sports tournaments in the future. He said events will bring 100,000 to 150,000 visitors a year to Wichita and generate $15 million to $22 million a year for the local economy. Tymber Lee, owner of the nearby Wichita Sports Forum, said this means Wichita will no longer be a "drive-through city," and it will make people stop in Wichita to see what the community has to offer.
The Sports Forum and a newly-constructed shopping center were constructed with a STAR Bond district that was established in 2012 at K-96 and Greenwich Road. STAR Bonds are supported by sales tax revenues from the district.
Mayor Longwell expressed thanks to the Commerce Department, Visit Wichita and the Greater Wichita Sports Commission for their support in the project.