Wichita’s Intrust Bank Arena shrouded in mystery


Okay, maybe that’s a little over-hyped, but when arena cheerleader Rhonda Holman of the Wichita Eagle starts to question the operations of Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita, there must be something going on.

Holman’s column of yesterday complained of lack of transparency in the arena’s operations: “But with hindsight, and with the Intrust Bank Arena open three months and generating revenue, it’s more clear all the time that county leaders gave away too much oversight authority to SMG, leaving citizens in the strange and frustrating position of having too little hard information about how their $206 million investment is doing.”

The sudden departure of arena manager Chris Presson under circumstances that can only be described as alarming will add to the concern of citizens. Well, not all citizens. Some arena boosters simply don’t care how much of a burden the arena may become to county taxpayers, as long as they have their arena.

The lack of transparency at the arena and some county commissioner’s lack of concern about this important issue has been the subject of articles on this site. See Wichita downtown arena open records failure, Wichita downtown arena contract seems to require Sedgwick County approval, and Sedgwick County keeps lease agreement secret.


9 responses to “Wichita’s Intrust Bank Arena shrouded in mystery”

  1. T.Y. So

    Its not “Wichita’s” IBA, its Sedgwick county. If Wichita wants to claim it now, the county should sell it to them for half price, and put the proceeds toward a 5 year property tax reduction.

  2. Wendy

    I’ll agree to the property tax reduction; just don’t put me on the hook for the arena. I’m already neck-deep in Warren theater, “Minnesota guys” and everything else Brewer, Skelton, Miller and Longwell sell us out to every week. And I thought slavery was illegal.

  3. Joe Williams

    I don’t get it. How can the IB Arena be a burden to taxpayers and the Kansas Coliseum not be?

  4. Mike

    Hi, because we already paid for the Kansas Coliseum. It just needs updating. The Kansas Coliseum HAS parking too, I’ve been there.

    You’ll also note that in spite of having been there since before 1985 when I showed up here, there are STILL no restaurants or hotels next door to it.


  5. sue

    Well, the commissioners can try to paint a rosy picture that we are getting money back from our “wonderful” investment in their arena. But I beg to differ.

    I was told by an economist, that we “made” $300,000 so far on the arena, but that the depreciation for the arena is actually $1 Million dollars. Leaving us…in the HOLE for $700,000.

    Maybe someone smarter than me can explain this to me. These kleptocrats are not fooling us anymore…

    Shrouded in mystery, confidentiality agreements, management leaving. Sounds like a cheap spy novel to me. That we are all paying for. Forever.

  6. Sue, I think that economist meant $1 million per year. But I think that’s way too low.

    The calculation very much depends on the useful economic life of the arena. The Kansas Coliseum opened in 1975 and is now closed and generally considered to be worthless. It lasted 35 years.

    Is there reason to believe the Intrust Bank Arena will last any longer? Who knows. But if we take about $200 million and divide it by 40 years (we’ll be optimistic) we get $5 million per year for depreciation.

    There are other ways at arriving at a cost of the community’s investment in the arena, most of which would arrive at a higher annual cost.

  7. Anonymous

    Uh, Joe, we’re not talking about the Coliseum here. How is it relevant?

    At any rate, a mistake made building it should not excuse the mistake of building a taxpayer-funded arena in downtown Wichita.

  8. […] arena has quite the history too. Let’s start with the cost of the building, which came out to $206 million. How much has been made or lost? We don’t know. In fact, there is a lot that we don’t […]

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