Now could be the time to roll the dice on re-opening the Wichita Greyhound Park. A group wants to put a slot machine question on the ballot again. The Wichita Greyhound Park shut-down when a slot machine proposal failed by less than 300 votes in 2007.
If a grassroots group has its way, the Wichita Greyhound Park could open again in a matter of 18 months, with a lot more than just dog racing.
"Slot machines and then pari-mutuel wagering. And then you have restaurants and banquet facilities,” Tracy Wildey from "Wichita Wins” said.
She hosted a public meeting Thursday night, explaining the big plans.
"It brings 500 jobs in. It brings 100 million dollars in investment. It brings construction jobs in. That's in just Sedgwick County alone,” Wildey said.
As of Thursday afternoon, the group had not reached-out to Ruffin Companies. It owns the Wichita Greyhound Park. I spoke with CFO, Bill Shea. He said he hopes to meet with the group. And, he's glad it’s interested in re-opening the Park. So is the company.
"He is not spear-heading it or running it at this time. This is more of a grass roots effort,” Wildey said.
But Wildey says Ruffin Companies is very aware of the group's efforts--including the push to get another slot machine question in front of Sedgwick County voters. But for that to happen, state lawmakers would have to sign-off on allowing yet another vote on expanding gambling.
"Certainly with the economy the way it is, I'm looking at everything on the table that can generate new revenue, put people to work, and so that families can provide for themselves,” State Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau said.
It's an issue lawmakers could consider next year, before any of these plans can become a reality.