Wichita City Council voted to move forward with a development agreement on the new baseball stadium and some of the land around it.
That vote was 7-0 Tuesday night after a four and a half hour meeting.
The contract with the developer includes leasing the 20 acres for the stadium, and parking to the baseball team for $350,000 a year, as well as selling an additional four acres to the team for $1 an acre.
“It’s just a $1 an acre because it’s just a transfer of land,” said Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell. “We could have easily said zero. It’s just you have to put a monetary value on it to transfer the title of the land.”
Team owner Lou Schwechheimer says the contract benefits both the team and the city in the long run.
“Time tables needed to be adhered to and we needed to develop the land, to the tune of another 20, 30, 40 million dollars in private investment of the team, and if any of those benchmarks are not met, the land goes back to the city,” he said.
But, one resident says with the stadium project being a $75 million investment, it’s a risk to taxpayers.
“Building a new stadium for $75 to $81 million is outrageous when our city doesn’t have enough money to keep all its pools open, is talking about closing two libraries.”
Another resident disagrees.
“We have another opportunity to continue the vision of downtown development that will not only create jobs, but memories that families will be able to pass down from generations to come,” said Scott Stiles, a Wichita resident.