Developer vote delayed for new baseball park

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We’ve all heard the line – if you build it they will come. But who will build Wichita’s new $80 million baseball stadium is still a question, after city council members held off deciding on a firm.

“I just found this item this morning,” said Councilman and Vice Mayor Bryan Frye. “I think it’s unfair to go through this document a make a decision on it.”

Frye’s concerns were shared by three other Council members that they needed extra time to review the plan and the group who was recommended to design and build the stadium about their qualifications and experience constructing Major and Minor League baseball parks.

A controversy over the building process came last month, when one of the competing builders filed a protest petition with the City of Wichita that J.E. Dunn didn’t meet the qualifications required by the City, saying the company chosen to work on the project didn’t have experience in the construction of the three Minor or Major League Ballparks.

The company’s spokesperson approached City Council members Tuesday morning, citing that J.E. Dunn is the 11th largest builder in the country with more than $2 billion in sports construction. He said it equaled 140 baseball stadiums with 200 years in combined experience through staff members.

Frye said he wanted to see proof of exact history and experience before making such a major decision about the future of the ballpark. And he also said it took longer than few hours to find that experience.

“I just want to make sure we do have the best qualified team for this,” Frye said. “I want to make sure that’s what these teams bring to the table.”

Council members will review the agreement and make a new vote next Tuesday.

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