Archive for Thursday, January 28, 2010

Soccer facilities to bring growth

January 28, 2010

As the excitement over the $400 million Wizards soccer and Cerner office campus coming to Wyandotte County looms in the air, those in Bonner Springs are looking eagerly toward the future.

Marcia Ashford, Bonner Springs community and economic development director, said the new development should have a big impact on the residents of Bonner Springs — starting with the tournament-quality soccer fields, which in addition to the Wizards stadium, will be built in Wyandotte County Park.

“(The Wyandotte County Park soccer fields) are proposed to bring in 2 million visitors a year,” Ashford said. “That should have an effect on our economy. With individuals staying ... in Bonner Springs, our rest stops and convenience stores and gas stations would get some overflow from that.”

Doug Bach, deputy Wyandotte County administrator, said the designs are still being conceived and would be worked on through 2010. By 2011, however, he said construction should start and by 2012, the fields would be in use.

During the design process, Bach said developers would be working with the Unified Government to determine the best use of land for the park. He said no park buildings, which does not include shelter houses, would be compromised.

For now, however, Bach said Bonner Springs could enjoy the idea that the development coming will spin down into the rest of the city.

In addition to the Wyandotte County Park facilities, the development going on slightly north in Kansas City, Kan., near the Kansas Speedway is also expected to bring some changes.

The development agreement calls for the construction of a $414 million campus that would include an 18,000-seat soccer stadium that would house the Wizards and an office campus that will provide a projected 4,000 new jobs for Cerner.

The office campus will provide for the future expansion of Cerner Corporation, which intends to start construction on their first building in 2011 and hit the target of 4,000 new jobs by 2016.

Those new jobs could lead to more residents for Bonner Springs and Edwardsville.

Bach said that at Cerner’s current two office sites, 70 percent of the employees live in a 7-mile radius.

That’s good news for Bonner Springs, said Ashford.

In anticipation for the arrival of new residents, Ashford said she and the city would be supportive of looking into the idea of developing more multi-family housing, which is currently lacking in the city.

“We’re very pro-development in Bonner Springs,” she said. “Multi family housing would be desired because that’s void right now.”

Realtor Randy Cunningham with Re/Max Action agrees with Ashford about the potential for new residents finding homes in Bonner Springs and Edwardsville.

“I’m elated,” he said. “Bringing in over 4,000 jobs, I just think it’s going to be pretty wonderful.”

Cunningham said he thought the new development would not only affect Wyandotte County but Leavenworth County as well. He said he thought the inventory of homes for the potential new residents was adequate, but said the city could always use more.

By the time the employees for Cerner are being hired, Cunningham said he expected the housing market to be back in full swing, which means contractors and developers will be building again, filling in any voids the city may have.

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