Parking prices for events could go up to help pay for new developments on U.S. Soccer project

Development agreement to go before UG Commission April 9

A ticket tax increase on parking for Sporting Park stadium is planned to help pay for the new developments such as parking in the U.S. Soccer project in western Wyandotte County, according to a Unified Government Standing Committee meeting on Monday night.

Negotiations have progressed to the point that the agreement between the UG and OnGoal, which is developing the U.S. Soccer project, is ready to go to the UG Commission on April 9, according to officials.

According to information presented at the Monday evening meeting, a ticket tax would increase to $2.25. A community improvement district would have a small special assessment and a $1 ticket tax, according to UG information.

A lease is in place with Kansas Speedway for parking, Todd LaSala, an attorney working with the UG, said. A community improvement district tax as well as a tax will be on each event at the stadium. The amount of the tax on each ticket sold would increase to help pay for these parking improvements.

UG Commissioner Gayle Townsend questioned information that was presented that stated that if a ticket tax increase and CID are insufficient, the UG would notify the developer of the shortfall, and the question was asked, who pays for the difference. UG presented information that if CID revenues increase, the ticket tax could fluctuate.

“Why would we leave this issue up in the air?” Townsend asked.

LaSala stated that in the negotiations, neither party wanted to be obligated to pay money if there was a shortfall on rent. If the revenues were short, that would be because not enough people are sitting in the stands, he said. So it may be a question of looking for alternative parking opportunity for the stadium, he said. He said the UG didn’t want to be locked down into that lease if there wasn’t a revenue source to pay for it.

If neither party decides to cover any potential shortfall, the UG then would have the opportunity to terminate the lease, LaSala said.

“That provision is about being able to say to the developer, there’s not enough money here, do you want to put in and cover this shortfall, and if they don’t, our opportunity at that point is to shut down that lease, terminate that lease, and not be in the stadium parking business any more, in which case the developer will have to figure out the parking solutions on their own,” LaSala said.

The U.S. Soccer development project in western Wyandotte County moved forward on Monday night as the Unified Government Economic Development and Finance Committee heard more details about the $64 million proposal. There was not a vote taken on it at the Monday night committee meeting.

The project still has to go before the full UG Commission for a final vote, expected to be on April 9.

The highlight of the project is a new national training center for U.S. Soccer to be built on property located near the Schlitterbahn water park. An amendment to the venture agreement also includes tournament fields on the Speer family site, as well as eight additional futsal courts throughout Wyandotte County, according to UG information.

The training facility and the tournament fields are two separate sites, according to UG officials. OnGoal officials said that there is still some discussion about moving the indoor soccer field, not the training facility, to the Speer site tournament field area. OnGoal has requested the right to build a second indoor facility on the site if it sees the need, officials said.

George Brajkovic, UG economic development director, said the locations of the development projects are the same as the last time it was discussed. The Speer site, for the tournament fields is located to the east of 94th Street between Parallel Parkway and State Avenue.

The U.S. Soccer training center site is on Schlitterbahn property, 40 acres near 98th Street, south of Parallel Parkway.

Four buildings were shown for that site near 98th and Parallel Parkway. They included the National Training Center for U.S. Soccer, two buildings for health care and medical use, and a possible office building for U.S. Soccer.

As part of a venture agreement, existing double tennis court sites at Bethany Park, Highland Park, Welborn Park and Westheight Park will be converted into futsal courts. Existing single sites will have a UG option to construct a secondary base for futsal courts at Edwardsville Park, Harmon High School, Garland Park and Vega Field. These courts have a completion date of this year.

Brajkovic said there are 12 tournament fields planned, with a minimum of eight fields at the Speer site, to be built and managed by spring 2017. The Speer property is owned by the UG and the tournament fields would be run by Sporting Club.

The National Training Center, as discussed at an earlier meeting, would still have one or more buildings up to 100,000 square feet, outdoor facilities and a completion date of 2017, Brajkovic said.

Some sort of preferential treatment would be given to Wyandotte County groups, and there would be a specific provision for Unified Government Parks and Recreation program use, as discussed earlier, Brajkovic said.

The financing is through $64 million STAR (sales tax revenue) bonds, he said. This includes the National Training Center at $26 million; tournament fields, $17.5 million; land acquisition, $10 million; and parking, $1 million, he said. Under the STAR bond concept, money from sales taxes in a district goes directly to pay for the project.

There is also a proposal from OnGoal to consider grass parking as part of the tournament field structure, so the UG staff is reviewing that, he said. If that needs to be an improved surface, there is a provision that would take $1 million from the STAR bond agreement to make that improvement, he said. UG Adminsitrator Doug Bach said the $1 million would go into some sort of escrow account, and if it was not used, it would go toward paying back bonds.

The coaching and training center component has a 500-mile radius restriction preventing a similar facility from going in within 500 miles. The restriction would be on U.S. Soccer, Bach said.

Brajkovic said the local revenue pledge for this project was estimated at $31 million to $42 million, up to 17 years. The new local sales tax generated is estimated at $65 million over 30 years, he said.

Commissioner Ann Murguia said the action requested Monday evening was contrary to what was presented previously. She didn’t have anything to object to, she added. But the new information was handed to commissioners right before the Monday night meeting without an opportunity to review it.

To view an earlier story on the U.S. Soccer development agreement with the UG, visit

KCKCC to hold 10th annual WyCo Ethnic Festival today

by Kelly Rogge

Kansas City Kansas Community College will bring an ethnic flair to Wyandotte County today with the 10th annual Wyandotte County Ethnic Festival: A Human Family Reunion.

The event is from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 11, at the KCKCC Athletic Field House, 7250 State Ave. The event is free and open to the public. There is also no charge for parking.

“The goal of the festival is to bring people together to enjoy different types of music, dance, foods and to educate each other about different ethnicities and cultures,” said Curtis Smith, professor of biological sciences at KCKCC and co-organizer of the WyCo Ethnic Festival. “The festival is like a trip around the world with no cost. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the pure joy of being human without the trappings of politics or economics for one day.”

More than 45 countries, ethnicities and organizations affiliated with Wyandotte County will be represented at the festival. In addition, two individuals will be recognized with the “Legends of Diversity” award – Kamiasha Tyner and Janith English.

Smith said the goal of the festival, which was started by former KCKCC Trustee Karen Hernandez and the former director of the KCKCC Intercultural Center, Professor Melanie Scott, is to celebrate Wyandotte County’s greatest asset – its diversity and all the unique culture of people who live, work or attend schools in the county.

Back again as the perennial master of ceremonies is Clarence Small. Shawn Derritt, director of the Student Advising Center at KCKCC and his wife Gloria, will kick off the event with “The Star Spangled Banner” followed by a rousing spiritual version of “America the Beautiful.”

New to the festival this year is Kolograde, a musical combo performing music from the Balkans; a Columbian dance group, Sabor a Peru Dancers and a Latin Jazz Combo in tribute to Cuba. Notable returnees are Danny Hinds and Ayotunde, who will provide Caribbean music; the Harvatski Obicaj Croatian Orchestra; Nartan Dancers from India; the ever-popular West of Marrkesh Dancers; Los Bailadores Mexican Dancers; local rap artist Roger Suggs; Tikvah Israeli Folk Dancers; the St. Monica Inspirational Choir and a South Korean TaeKown Do demonstration.

In the food court area there will be six different vendors with traditional ethnic food ranging from “soul food,” Indian and Mexican to Peruvian and Columbian foods. In addition, free water and mint tea will be available. Caffeinated drinks can be purchased from the pop machine. Popcorn will be sold by “Combat Corn.” Proceeds go to support veterans.

Educational presentations will be made by the Wyandot Nation of Kansas, the Quindaro Museum of History, the Wyandotte Historical Journal of Wyandotte County and Chinese Qugong and Tai Chi. In addition, there will be an indoor Creative Children’s Tent supervised by the director of the KCKCC Intercultural Center, Barbara-Clark Evans.

“The festival would not be possible without the generous support of the community college and community sponsors,” Smith said. “Their support makes everything possible and the committee extends its heartfelt appreciation.”

College sponsors include the KCKCC Endowment Association, Enrollment Management Division, Athletics, Buildings and Grounds, Music Department, Sound Engineering, Campus Police and the Intercultural Center. Community sponsors are the Unified Government Human Relations Commission and Community Development Department; the Board of Public Utilities; Wyandotte Daily News; Dos Mundos Publications; Google Fiber, Gene Hernandez and Imagine Magic Productions and co-founder of the festival, Melanie Scott.

“It is an annual celebration that promotes cultural awareness and inclusion in WyCo,” Smith said. “We especially highlight our greatest strength, which is our diversity while at the same time celebrating our common humanity.”

For more information about performance times, the list of ethnic groups or organizational participants, visit

Kelly Rogge is the public information supervisor for Kansas City Kansas Community College.

Blue Devil golfers fifth in 19-team Bethel Spring Invitational

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC

The winds of western Kansas and Sand Creek Station’s tricky greens dealt Kansas City Kansas Community College’s golf team a bit of a setback in the Bethel Spring Invitational Sunday.

Third after firing a 298 at Hesston Golf Course on Saturday, the Blue Devils skidded to a 324 at Sand Creek Station in Newton Sunday and had to settle for fifth place in the 19-team tournament made up almost entirely of four-year colleges and universities.

Loaded with international players, Bethany took the first two places with scores of 590 and 608. Hastings was third at 611 followed by Hutchinson (614), KCKCC (324), Dakota Wesleyan and John Brown (625), Ottawa (629), Missouri Valley (633) and Dakota Wesleyan B (633) rounding out the top 10.

Piper sophomore Charlie Rinehart took medalist honors Saturday with a 3-under 68 at Hesston and finished in a tie for 11th with teammate Alex Forristal of Olathe East at 152. Marc McClain of Bonner Springs deadlocked for 25th with a 77-79-156.

Evan Shartzer of Blue Valley North tied for 35th with a 74-85-159 and Montana Fasching of Piper was another stroke back in 43rd with 80-80-160 to round out the Blue Devil scoring. Seve Sites of SM Northwest finished 49th with a 79-83-162, Lane Pauls of Newton 59th (78-86-164) and Colton Allen 66th (80-85).

“We weren’t able to play a practice round and then with the wind coming up and some tough pin placements we didn’t play nearly as well as we’re capable,” said KCKCC coach Gary Shrader. “Normally we’ll average about 31 putts per player a round; Sunday it was probably about 36. The pin on No. 13 was almost impossible and the head pro apologized for the placement. One player had six putts. The ball would roll up to the hole and then roll back.”

The fifth place finish comes on the heels of a third place finish in the first Jayhawk Designated Tournament at Falcon Lakes. Hutchinson led the way at 582 followed by Dodge City (592), KCKCC (603), Barton County (605), Garden City (606), Allen County (627) and Coffeyville (668). Charlie Rinehart led KCKCC with a seventh place at 198 with Montana Faschling tying for 10th at 151.

The Blue Devils are now idle April 13 when they’ll compete in a 36-hole tournament at Alvamar in Lawrence.

Alan Hoskins is the sports information director at KCKCC.