Minor league soccer eyeing Garden City

GARDEN CITY, Kansas – The Garden City Commission will vote on Tuesday to help fund a Sporting Kansas City soccer training center through a STAR Bond, a tourism incentive program that works in conjunction with the state.

“The point of STAR Bond projects is to increase visitors to the community.  You’re actually using the money for something that’s truly going to draw new people into your community,” said President of Finney County Economic Development Lona DuVall.

Sporting Kansas City uses affiliate minor league clubs to develop local and regional athletes into professional soccer players.  Now, they want to bring a training center to Southwest Kansas to help recruit from an under-represented part of the Midwest.

If approved, the center would have multiple fields, locker rooms, and a stadium for league matches.

STAR bonds would help cover some of Sporting Kansas City’s costs and, at the same time, bring a first of its kind destination to Western Kansas.

“It’s great, not only for the youth in Garden City, but for the whole community, to create a destination location where people can go watch a professional sporting event in a stadium setting,” said Mayor Roy Cessna.

A STAR Bond allows unused sales tax revenue from a designated district to be assigned as repayment for a bond.  The Sporting Garden City Center is one of several potential developments that could benefit.

If approved, the district would be made up of 312 acres of land, including the shops at Schulman Crossing, and then part of their sales tax revenue would go toward completing the project.

There is talk of putting the center on undeveloped land behind Schulman Crossing, but first the city will have to approve the project.  The City Commission will meet on Tuesday afternoon.

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