Hotel project at Hollywood Casino at Speedway could be pushed to a later start

The Unified Government Commission on Thursday is scheduled to vote on extending the time of the start of construction of a hotel at the Hollywood Casino.

Earlier this year the hotel project was set for a groundbreaking in October, but that may change because the UG Commission approved a study of the possibility of building a convention center in western Wyandotte County.

The hotel project now may start after a UG feasibility study is completed, according to a proposal. If the UG study finds that the UG should include the hotel as part of a larger UG plan, and the commission agrees, then another groundbreaking date would be selected, according to the UG agenda for Thursday. If the report finds that a combined UG-casino project is not feasible, the groundbreaking would occur after the release of the study, according to the agenda information. It would not occur during winter conditions.

The UG is voting on the start date of the hotel because it is part of a development agreement between the UG and Kansas Entertainment, parent company of the casino.

Another item on the 7 p.m. UG meeting is a public hearing on a tax increment financing district for a redevelopment project at the levee at Kaw Point.

The commission may vote on a resolution to issue $15 million in industrial revenue bonds for the redevelopment.

In the redevelopment, there would be a 365,000-square-foot building. There would be upgrades for an existing building and changes to access, signs and lighting to Kaw Point Park. The total cost of the project was estimated at $21.5 million.

A few weeks ago, a restaurant owner at the levee was concerned that her diner might have to move or close under preliminary plans for the development.

Several other items also are on the agenda for the 7 p.m. June 26 meeting.

A special session of the UG Commission will begin at 5 p.m. Thursday in the ninth floor conference room of City Hall. This will start with a closed, or executive, session on labor negotiations and litigation.

Immediately following the 5 p.m. closed session will be a special session in the Commission Chambers, lobby level, on the county administrator’s draft performance evaluation and a Community Development Block Grant follow-up.

To view the 7 p.m. June 26 agenda, visit www.wycokck.org.

Bonner Springs student at Saint Mary receives KICF scholarship

The Kansas Independent College Fund announced Christina Ward, of Bonner Springs, Kan., as this year’s recipient of the Recognition Scholarship.

She is a student at the University of Saint Mary, Leavenworth.

The annual $2,500 scholarship is awarded to a student from one of the 18 nonprofit, private colleges across Kansas. Scholarship recipients must be academically strong, while also actively involved in their community—and Ward is just that.

“In my 20 years of teaching, I would place Christina in the top five percent of students,” said David Greene, chair of USM’s department of behavioral sciences and co-director of USM’s psychology program. Ward carries a perfect 4.0 cumulative grade-point average as a biology and psychology double major (minoring in chemistry) and is expected to graduate this December. Ward plans to continue her studies, pursuing her interest in biochemistry research.

Ward also gives her time to both USM and her community. She helps manage USM’s growing recycling program; she is actively involved USM’s Science and Mathematics Club, where she’s always the first to volunteer for local events, such as Science Night at the Kansas City Zoo.

This past summer, Ward raised funds to take a two-week International Service Learning trip to Costa Rica. Along with eight others, she helped assess, diagnose, and treat locals with physical and cognitive impairments in their homes, the local nursing home, and at a portable physical therapy clinic.

“I can’t think of a better student to receive this award. We are so proud of Christina. She gives her all to everything she does and serves as such a great role model to students across the USM campus,” said Caroline Mackintosh, chair of USM’s department of natural sciences and mathematics. “Christina is a stand-out in the classroom and is dedicated to making a difference in our community. She has a bright future ahead of her, and I look forward to seeing all her success.”

Pack graduates from basic training

Air National Guard Airman 1st Class Joshua R. Pack graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.
The airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills.
Airmen who complete basic training earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force.
Pack earned distinction as an honor graduate.
He is the son of Debbie and John Pack of Kansas City, Kan.
The airman is a 2008 graduate of Schlagle High School.