New information obtained by the Sentinel from the City of Wichita shows an estimated $101.4 million of public funds will be spent on the $210 million baseball stadium project, which the City now says is comprised of $83 million for the stadium and pedestrian walkway, and an associated $127 million private development. The entire $83 million for the stadium and pedestrian bridge will be paid with taxpayer money and $18.4 million in sales tax revenue will be given to Riverfront Partners, the private developers. Subtracting $18.4 in sales tax revenue given to developers, their net investment would be $108.6 million.
Last month the Sentinel reported that city documents reflected the baseball stadium project had increased from $75 million to $210 million, and city officials repeatedly ignored requests for an explanation. That led to rampant speculation that the cost of the stadium itself had shot up to $210 million (editor’s note: we should have made it clear that we didn’t know whether the increase was for the stadium or something else).
Following publication, several city councilmen made social media statements explaining that the largest increase was adding in the cost of the private development. City Councilman Bryan Frye said, “the stadium and pedestrian bridge total $83 million and the private development is $127 million.”
Now that the city is responding to our questions, we know the estimated amount of public funding going into the private development. An email from Megan Lovely, Communications and Special Events Manager, said, “It would be most accurate to say that it’s funded with a mix of private and public funds.” The partly publicly-funded private development is included in a Community Improvement District, in which an extra 2% sales tax will be charged and shared between the city and the developers. The total sales rate in the district will be 9.5%.
“The projection for CID generation within the district over 22 years is $31,609,000. That includes $13,235,000 that will go toward the stadium and $18,374,000 that will be generated within the private Wichita Riverfront Partners development,” said Lovely.
The city says Riverfront Partners will not receive CID sales tax generated from the baseball stadium but just from sales within their development.