They weren't in sync but dignitaries made shovels of dirt fly through the air Tuesday morning at the official groundbreaking for the Sports of the World Complex now under construction on Stone Creek Drive.
Earthwork on the facility is already well underway for the new facility that is part of a bigger economic development project that has already brought new businesses to Garden City. This project was made possible through STAR Bonds and was the first project in Gov. Laura Kelly's administration.
Kelly said her administration was fully committed to this type of public and private partnership.
The STAR bonds have been in place for 15 to 20 years and are designed for private developers to invest in projects. Developers are exempt from paying taxes for 10 years and they can use that sales tax money to pay off loans. Successful use of the sales tax has resulted in projects being paid off early.
"When it's done right, its incredibly successful," Kelly said.
Kelly said the "can do" approach in Garden City made this facility possible. It's easy to see how it will attract people from outside the community. It took the Department of Commerce and Finney County working together to make the project happen.
Kelly spent 18 years in Kansas Recreation and Parks and saw first hand what a project like this can do for a community.
"I think the complex is a game-changer. I know what impact this can have on economic development." Kelly said. "It will draw tournaments."
Good economic development projects will attract other projects. Restaurants, hotels and other businesses can develop from economic development projects.
Secretary of Commerce David Toland, said this ambitious project showed vision for the future. The partnerships that developed had tenacity and persuasiveness to get the job done. It's estimated this project will bring in $115 million in retail sales a year. He also predicted the facility will draw visitors from other states.
Amro Samy, President of Garden City Investments, said he was blessed to work on this project that started five years ago. It would provide a sports facility like no other between Denver and Wichita.
Dr. Bill Clifford, Chair of the Finney County Commission, said it took a strong, high level of partnership, both public and private, to make the facility a reality. It will attract people from a wide area, not just Kansas, but from Texas and Oklahoma will be drawn to this facility.
Lona DuVall, president and CEO of the Finney County Economic Corporation, said when the project was first being considered, attracting new businesses to the area was also a priority. If this was a success, what would it look like.
"It would take forward thinking if this was to be successful," DuVall said.
When it became apparent that an attraction would work, the search was on to find that attraction.
They stumbled onto Sports of the World and it rose to the top. It turned out to be a perfect fit for the 29-31 mean age group and the youth in the community. It will attract a host of events and do amazing things for the city and county, DuVall said.
Cecil Obrate, American Warrior CEO and business partner of Samy in Garden City Investments, said because it is such a big project, he and Samy traveled extensively to Dallas, Chicago, Kansas City and Wichita before deciding how the Garden City project would be built.
City Manager Matt Allen said once the facility gets people to Garden City, they will experience the hospitality of the city and fall in love.
Plans for the Sports of the World complex include indoor basketball and volleyball courts, soccer fields, trampoline park, concessions and lobby area along with indoor and outdoor pickleball and sand volleyball courts, turf field for lawn games, shuffleboard lanes, mini-golf course plus concessions and restrooms.