Archive for Thursday, August 9, 2007

Wyandotte County relocates fairgrounds nearby along K-7

August 9, 2007

Lansing residents might not have far to go to catch two county fairs in 2008 one in Leavenworth County and the other in Wyandotte County.

Wyandotte County's search for a new site for its fairgrounds may have ended July 27, when its Unified Government closed on two large tracts of land just south of Lansing, across from the Falcon Lakes subdivision on Kansas Highway 7.

The Wyandotte County Fair, which was temporarily held this year from July 31 to Aug. 4 at the Woodlands Racetrack, moved from its previous home on 98th Street between State Avenue and Parallel Road to make way for the planned Schlitterbahn Vacation Village, a $300 million water park set to move to Wyandotte County.

Deputy County Administrator Doug Bach with the Unified Government of Wyandotte County said he believed the new site for the fairgrounds in western Wyandotte would likely be operational by 2008.

"That's our target at this point until determined otherwise," he said.

The fairgrounds would rest on 158 acres of land purchased by the Unified Government 38 acres from Land Enterprises, a Leavenworth-based investment group and 120 acres from the Wiehe family of Wyandotte County.

In what he called his biggest sale of the year, Lansing real estate broker, Ron Ernzen with RE/MAX Crossroads Realty, said the 38 acres that his company signed a contract for sold for $814,000 to a Lawrence brokerage firm, which in turn, assigned the property to Wyandotte County.

The owner of the adjacent 120 acres to the east could not be reached for comment.

Bach emphasized that the purchase was not made from taxpayer dollars but from transaction money accumulated when the old fairgrounds were sold to Schlitterbahn.

For residents from Lansing and Leavenworth County, the new fairgrounds could mean yet another means of entertainment and recreation located nearby.

Ernzen believed there would be a significant economic effect as well.

"My opinion is that anytime you have a public park this close to the city of Lansing, it's bound to have a ripple effect for restaurants, hotels and service stations and will have a positive effect for everyone," Ernzen said.

Lansing City Administrator Mike Smith said the Unified Government had not communicated its plans to city officials before purchasing the land.

"As far as commercial growth, I don't think this will affect us," he said. "But did it surprise us? Yes."

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