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Goddard City Council to vote on swimming pool complex

By Dan Voorhis

The Wichita Eagle

(MCT)

A $130 million project that will change the western edge of Wichita goes before the Goddard City Council Monday night.

If it gains approval from the city as well as the Kansas Department of Commerce, the project would be built between the city of Goddard and the new Wal-Mart.

It will consist of a natatorium -- a 60,000-square-foot complex of swimming pools for regional and national swimming competitions -- integrated with a 150-room, all-suites hotel. The first phase will also include four baseball/softball fields and sites for restaurants and retail. It will sit on about 100 acres.

The developers, led by Rick Worner, are asking the state of Kansas for $25.4 million worth of STAR bonds to help pay for the project. The cost of the bonds would be repaid by taxes generated on the property -- state sales tax, the city's share of state sales tax, the transient guest tax and a 1 percent increase in the sales tax on the site for a community improvement district. STAR bonds are issued for large unusual, high-quality projects that promise to attract visitors from outside the metropolitan market area.

Worner is also the lead developer of the Goodsports athletic project at K-96 and Greenwich. Work on the infrastructure has started on the project.

Korb Maxwell, who represents Worner and the other developers, said that if the project gains the needed approvals of Goddard, it would break ground in the summer and be completed in the summer of 2015.

Adjacent to the 100 acres holding the natatorium/hotel project is another 100 acres owned by developer John Dugan. Sales tax generated on all 200 acres, including the Wal-Mart, will go toward paying off the STAR bonds, Maxwell said.

There is also land on the site for more recreation facilities, Maxwell said.

Goddard Mayor Marcey Gregory said the city has worked closely with the developer for at least two years and expects no opposition.

She backs the project enthusiastically.

"I think first and foremost it will bring us some jobs," Gregory said. "And it will also bring in a lot of revenue from people outside the community. And it will also get the name of Goddard out to people all over the region."

(c)2014 The Wichita Eagle