County Commission Approves Arena TIF District

By: Jeff Herndon Email
By: Jeff Herndon Email

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Sedgwick County Commissioners voted Wednesday to allow the city council's plan for a special tax district near the arena. The measure passed on a 3-2 vote.

A few weeks ago, the Wichita City Council passed a TIF district plan that included $10 million for new parking near the downtown arena.

This is the second TIF district proposal from the city to be voted on by county commissioners. After the first one failed in August, the city changed a few details.

"This proposal is much smaller, it is specific, they have outlined their process and what they intend to do, and they put a cap on it," said Sedgwick County Commissioner Tom Winters.

The cap is $10 million on new parking facilities. The specifics include streets, lights, landscaping and sidewalks. Not every commissioner was on board with the plan because for many, TIF districts are complicated.

"I think one of the problems we have with the TIF district is how difficult it is to understand it. No matter how much we talk about, it's never understood by a majority of people," said county commissioner Gwen Welshimer.

Before the vote, commissioners listened to an hour of public comment. Many were opposed to the plan, including newly elected commissioner Karl Peterjohn, who will join the commission next month.

"I would recommend to county commissioners today that the plan you have before you does have an adverse impact on the county," Peterjohn said.

Tom Winters, Dave Unruh and Tim Norton supported the plan, and board members Kelly Parks and Gwen Welshime voted against it.

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