What’s sizing up to be a big win for the local soccer community would be an even more impressive victory for the city and region.
Details have unfolded on a plan for a major league soccer training and development facility in southwest Kansas.
Sporting Kansas City, a professional soccer franchise, has targeted Garden City as a possible location for the facility. Plans call for a state-of-the-art soccer operation that would bring the major league soccer club’s youth development system here, along with a semi-professional soccer franchise and large regional tournaments.
One important step toward that goal came Tuesday, when the Garden City Commission approved an ordinance creating a Sales Tax Revenue (STAR) bond district on a 312-acre site on the city’s east side.
STAR bonds are used to finance commercial, entertainment and tourism areas with debt paid by the project’s sales tax revenue. Developments must draw a significant number of out-of-town visitors, and generate at least $50 million in annual taxable sales revenue.
The Kansas Department of Commerce will consider the local ordinance. Further project analysis by the city and state would follow.
STAR bond financing helped fuel such big-ticket developments as the Kansas Speedway and Legends shopping center in Wyandotte County, and Manhattan’s Flint Hills Discovery Center.
Garden City is in position to join the list, and for good reason.
Soccer is a natural fit in Garden City and the region, as immigration has helped fuel popularity in the sport.
Those involved in the proposal could see the benefit in playing to soccer’s growing popularity in southwest Kansas and beyond.
It’s worth noting that Sporting Kansas City’s operations would complement, and not take over soccer programs already in place at the Garden City Family YMCA and Garden City Recreation Commission.
If it comes about, the sports facility would be the latest significant development in a city home to a new retail shopping development, a planned indoor water park and other projects.
When news of a possible STAR bond venture materialized earlier, local residents only could speculate on what might evolve. The plan revealed made sense, and would be an exciting score for the community.