Welshimer, a Democrat, is so far the only candidate in that party. There are three Republicans who have either filed or are considering filing.
Posts tagged as “Intrust Bank arena”
Two recent events have led me to suspect that as part of the plan for the revitalization of downtown Wichita, we're going to see a sales tax proposed.
In 2004, as residents of Sedgwick County were considering whether to vote for a sales tax to fund the downtown Wichita arena (now known as the Intrust Bank Arena and nearly ready to open), people wondered about parking.
So on a campaign literature piece, the arena supporters made this claim: "With the proposed garage structures, more than 10,000 parking spaces will be available within a three-block radius of the Arena (compared with the Coliseum's 4,500 spaces.)"
Today, on the eve of the arena's opening, these parking garages don't exist.
Last Friday a selection committee selected one company from four finalists to lead the planning effort for the revitalization of downtown Wichita. If some city leaders had their way, citizens of Wichita wouldn't be able to see this document until after the city council makes a decision to follow -- or not -- the recommendation of the selection committee. But thanks to city manager Robert Layton's decision, this document is now available for all to read. (Thanks also go to council member Jim Skelton, for his unsuccessful effort to release the documents.)
In the campaign for the sales tax to build the downtown Wichita arena (Intrust Bank Arena), the idea of hosting NCAA men's basketball games was promoted as something that would happen if voters approved the arena.
Hundreds of millions have already been spent for downtown redevelopment and what do we have to show for it? In contrast, look at the benign neglect the city has had on the thriving east and west sides of town where projects on Maize and Webb roads have prospered despite heavy property taxes.
A recent letter in the Wichita Eagle by Alden Wilner of Bel Aire worries that "flat, dusty and hot" parking lots in the neighborhood of the Intrust Bank Arena (formerly known as the downtown Wichita arena) in downtown Wichita will hamper downtown revitalization.
I don't know if this claim is true or not, but I do know that the solution Wilner proposes -- "an area wide light-rail system" -- would be an absolute disaster for Wichita. These systems are costly to build and operate, suffer from low-ridership almost everywhere they are built, and have many other problems.
The Wichita Eagle editorial written by Rhonda Holman on June 29, 2009 now claims that the new Intrust Arena in downtown Wichita lacks adequate parking. This is a major change by the Eagle editorial board’s position. I have repeatedly asked county staff about the available parking in and around this soon-to-open facility since I became a commissioner in January. I have been repeatedly told by county staff that adequate parking will be available when the Intrust Arena opens next year. The most recent public assurance I have received was only a few days ago.
Kansas City's Sprint Center (that's their new downtown arena) is suffering from underuse. The Atlantic article The Empty Arena tells the story. Its subtitle is "If you build it, they might not come." Despite being managed by a well-connected and experienced management group, no professional basketball or hockey team has moved in.
Details of that lease weren't made available to the public. Not to Sedgwick County Commissioners, either. So the public and even elected government officials don't know anything about this contract, except for its term of five years.
A letter in today's Wichita Eagle places a lot of faith on things not yet seen, and in things we know don't work.
"I think it is dumb that people are complaining about the new Intrust Bank Arena. It will bring money and tourists to Wichita, not to mention great entertainment. That means more money brought to our government, and that's a good thing. -- Caleb Beeson, Wichita"
Education reform, downtown Wichita arena, Kansas smoking ban, downtown developers.
Yesterday, SMG announced a 10.5 year lease with the Wichita Thunder hockey team. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, and SMG is resisting their release, as explained in Wichita Eagle reporting referred to in my post Wichita downtown arena open records failure.
On Tuesday December 4, 2007, Sedgwick County hosted the formal groundbreaking ceremony for the downtown Wichita arena. While local government leaders and news media hailed the event as a transforming event in the history of Wichita, this writer does not share their enthusiasm.
Other people in Wichita's news business appeared to lack basic factual information about the arena vote. As part of its election night coverage, one prominent Wichita television news anchor interviewed Mr. Karl Peterjohn of the Kansas Taxpayers Network. Mr. Peterjohn mentioned something about how now the story moves to the Kansas Legislature. The news anchor expressed surprise to learn that the ballot issue was merely an advisory referendum instead of a binding resolution, and that the legislature would have to pass a law allowing Sedgwick County to raise its sales tax. A Wichita television news personality being so poorly informed about such a basic factual matter tells us that we shouldn't expect important news reporting from our television stations.
Collecting the sales tax to pay for the downtown Wichita arena may produce unintended consequences.