Grassroots Effort Underway To Revive Wichita Greyhound Park

By: KAKE News Email
By: KAKE News Email

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

About 30 people attended the first public meeting organized by the group called WichitaWins.

The group supports the idea of creating a $100-million entertainment complex at Wichita Greyhound Park, which would include greyhound dog racing and electronic machine gaming.

In 2007, Sedgwick County voters rejected a similar measure by 244 votes and owner, Phil Ruffin, closed the doors to the facility.

"Most people that we've spoken to, which is how this grassroots effort came about, was the fact that this was not a clear vote. We don't believe there was a clear vote on that particular question," said Tracy Wildey, member of WichitaWins and vice president of the Kansas Greyhound Association.

The group is looking for legislative approval for a public vote in Sedgwick County on the question of allowing electronic machine gaming at the new complex.

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

A grassroots effort is underway to re-open the dormant Wichita Greyhound Park in Park City, but will it hold up? The effort is being led by a group calling themselves Wichita Wins. They are trying to convince billionaire Phil Ruffin to get the dogs running again with electronic gaming, as well.

The Wichita Greyhound Park has been dormant for about four years now. The Wichita Wins group is meeting Thursday as they try to gain support to get it back open again.

By the looks of things, it would take a lot of work to get the Greyhound Park back up to speed. It's not only the aesthetic work that is needed, the pull in Topeka may be even tougher to get done.

"With the vote that was taken in Sedgwick County several years ago concerning casino location, I'm not sure there wouldn't have to be some kind of legislative action taken," said Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission Spokesman Bill Miskell.

In Park City, we found small cards publicizing the effort at a gas station. One of the cards even suggests that "It's time for a clean vote."

In 2007, Ruffin threatened to close the greyhound park if the casino vote failed. It did fail by a slim margin, and Ruffin followed through. The greyhound park was mothballed.

No matter, Miskell says it would be a fairly long process

"There is a period of time that would be involved and a fairly set process for any group to become licensed to operate a parimutuel track in Kansas," he said. "It would take some time to be able to do that."

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