The Wichita City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve phase one of the STAR Bond project plan that will help establish a multi-sport athletic complex in northeast Wichita.
The 430 acre complex site near K-96 and Greenwich road will serve as an attraction for regional and national youth sports competition. The site plan includes hotels, retailers and an aquatic attraction with a goal of increasing tourism for Wichita and the region.
The site will be anchored by a 65,000 square foot multi-sports facility called GoodSports Fieldhouse. The project would use STAR Bonds, which are supported by sales tax revenues that the district generates.
The STAR bonds would provide about $31 million toward the total cost of $124 million for the first phase of the project.
Michael Shatz with Occupy Wichita told council members he's concerned with what he calls wealthy developers using tax dollars to develop the plan.
"This is what we are talking about you are taking tax dollars, you are taking money from the poor people and giving to the rich people," he said.
Vice Mayor Janet Miller disagrees saying she doesn't see this project as giving to the rich at the expense of the poor.
"The way I see it is that this project is bringing the possibility of increase taxes sales tax and property tax outside this district to our community and those tax dollars are reinvested in our community through charitable giving to our YMCA to other agencies that serve the poor and the homeless," she said.
Mayor Carl Brewer says the goal is to provide opportunity to grow new businesses in Wichita and put people to work.
The next step is approval from the Kansas Department of Commerce. If the the state signs off, developers plan to start construction in the spring.