(WICHITA, Kan.)—Developers for a proposed multi-million dollar bowling center and entertainment area in West Wichita are trying to get tax help from the city, but already some business owners are opposed to the idea.
"If they think its such a great idea to build another bowling center then take their own money and their own capital and invest it to make it happen," said Business Owner Ray Baty.
It's called the Bowllagio. Developers pitched the project two years ago, but pulled it after they could not get support for a state sales tax incentive. Now developers are trying again, by asking for city help though a tax increment finance district..
"There would be a variety of hotels, retail development, restaurants and office space for the remainder of the 86 acre site," said Wichita Economic Development Director Allen Bell.
But to strike a deal, developers want Wichita City Council members to declare the area near Kellogg and Maize road a tax increment finance, or TIF district. That will let them use property tax revenue from the site to pay for some infrastructure costs and to bring in dirt to raise the land above the flood plain.
"If it goes forward and gets passed, what you are going to get is additional flood control for West Wichita," said Wichita City Council member Jeff Longwell.
The idea is already not sitting well with some Wichita business owners, like Ray Baty
"If there is a flood plain there, let the city take care of it that what they are there for," Baty said.
Baty operates several bowling alleys in town. He never got tax help from the city, and feels the Bowllagio project shouldn't either.
"Competition is competition and it drives business, we have no problem with that," Baty said. "Its just the government's involvement in helping to make this happen, it just doesn't make any sense."
Baty plans to fight the project, just like he did two years ago when the plan was first introduced.
Council members did vote to hold a public hearing on the TIF district request. It is scheduled for november 20th.