Sedgwick County is looking to unload itself of responsibility for running the Kansas Coliseum and surrounding facilities such as the pavilions. It has issued a Request for Proposal to that effect.
At a recent public hearing, many users of the pavilions pleaded with the county to keep them open for their events, such as horse shows. Other uses for the pavilions as mentioned in the RPF are “trade shows, flea markets, animal shows and events, and agricultural shows and events.”
While the pavilions are great to have, it’s estimated that it costs the county about $580,000 per year to keep them open. That’s money that the taxpayers of the county have to pay in order for users of the pavilions to have a place for their horse and dog shows.
The arguments of these people, of course, is totally self-serving. There’s no reason that the county should subsidize their venue. Except … government at all levels does exactly that, the new downtown Wichita arena being a prime example. But that’s not persuasive.
A complicating factor is that some of the money collected by the sales tax for the building of the downtown arena went to make improvements at the pavilions.
At a recent talk, County Commission member Dave Unruh said he’d be willing to sell the pavilions for $1 to a responsible party. That’s a great idea.
You can read the county’s RFP, click on Sedgwick County Request for Proposals for Kansas Coliseum site.