Neighboring Cities Not Happy With Sedgwick County's Coliseum Jail Idea

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Valley Center and Park City leaders say Sedgwick County's idea of putting a jail on the former Kansas Coliseum land will hurt property values in the area, and harm plans for future development.

What happens on the former Kansas Coliseum site is of interest to both Park City and Valley Center because of those communities' proximity to the property. The Sedgwick County's consideration of the site is enough of a concern that it will be on Valley Center's next city council agenda September 6th for public discussion.

The city is concerned about what a possible jail could mean for development. "Really, at the heart of it is will we be able to recruit and retain the businesses and industry that we are presently after," Valley Center City Administrator Joe Pile said.

Park City Administrator Jack Whitson said the area is a prime area for retail. "If they are going to get rid of the property, they need to get the maximum price possible. Putting a jail there is going to devalue the property," Whitson said.

Developer Johnny Stevens said putting a jail on the Coliseum property wouldn't be a good use for the land. "It would destroy the values up there really," he said. Park City's boundaries surround the Coliseum. A jail there, he said, would be a loss for all county residents. Stevens said his company also owns the property where the Wichita Union Stockyards used to be. He said that property would be a place where a jail could go. "It would be a great idea," Stevens said. "So, we will maybe pursue that."

No doubt, there will be much more discussion at many different levels before any progress is mad on putting a jail on the Kansas Coliseum site.

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