Archive for Thursday, October 9, 2003

Village West survey points to benefits

October 9, 2003

In July, the Unified Government of Wyandotte County commissioned a survey of businesses in the area focusing on the impact businesses have felt by development of the Village West entertainment district.

Last week, Wyandotte County officials released results from that survey, which seemed "very favorable," county spokesman Don Denney said.

"They're favorable results but there is also some room there for improvement," Denney said.

Village West is a 400-acre development seated at the northwest corners of Interstates 435 and 70. It is home to the Kansas Speedway and Cabela's, two of the three top tourist attractions in the state, as well as Nebraska Furniture Mart, the Great Wolf Lodge and the Kansas City T-Bones minor league baseball team.

Approximately 192 businesses within reasonable proximity to Village West, Bonner Springs and Edwardsville included, were sent the questionnaire. Mike Grimm, Unified Government Research Division, said the county received 68 responses, or 36 percent.

According to the surveys returned to Wyandotte County,

  • 50 percent of the respondents said they expect sales tax to increase as more Village West stores open.
  • During events at the Kansas Speedway, T-Bones baseball games or other Village West attractions, 32 percent said sales have increased, 44 percent said sales remained constant and 23 percent said sales decreased.
  • Respondents said increases in sales were realized as result of Speedway events (26 percent), T-Bones games (10 percent) and Village West shopping (28 percent).
  • 65 percent of respondents said they optimistic about doing business in Wyandotte County, 22 percent are pessimistic and 13 percent are unsure.

The results of the survey were shared with the Unified Government administration and county officials expect to implement more surveys as time goes on to monitor the impact of the Village West.

"We think it's important in determining the future of the community," Denney said.

The survey did not take into account businesses outside Wyandotte County. However, local business leaders in Basehor and western Shawnee said the Village West has had some positive impacts in their areas as well.

In Shawnee, where retail stores and restaurants are plentiful, events at the Village West has helped generate "spin-off business," said Jim Martin, executive director of economic development.

"It's difficult to quantify but I think certainly Shawnee has benefited from the Village West," Martin said.

"On race days or other Village West events business increases significantly," he added. "There is a spin-off benefit. (People visiting) the Village West are liable to stop in Shawnee restaurants or other retailers."

In Basehor, where there is not as much retail development as Shawnee, the city is just miles west of the entertainment district. The Village West is making the city a more attractive location for businesses hoping to capitalize on customers traveling to and from the entertainment district.

"I can't see how the Village West traffic can do anything but help Basehor businesses," Basehor Chamber of Commerce president Debbie Bonee said.

"As the area is developed between Basehor and the Village West along U.S. Highway 24/40 and Parallel Road, I think there will be more of an opportunity to catch some of the overflow," Bonee added.

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