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Wichita planning sports, entertainment complex

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- Wichita is planning a multimillion dollar sports and entertainment complex that city officials and sports fans are hoping will draw national tournaments and thousands of visitors.

Some final details are not complete but developers say construction work could begin late this summer on the GoodSports complex, with opening sometime next summer. The complex will be anchored by GoodSports Fieldhouse, a 65,000-square-foot multisport athletic facility that will include 12 full-size basketball courts or 24 volleyball courts that could host competitions for basketball, volleyball, indoor soccer, wrestling and cheerleading. The field house is projected to draw 300,000 visitors a year, The Wichita Eagle reported ( ).

A 150-room hotel is planned next to the complex and efforts are underway to lure retail tenants near the complex.

The Wichita City Council is scheduled to consider at its Aug. 6 meeting a special sales tax to finance a highway interchange that will be a key entrance into the $122 million project.

Once that funding source is established, Vice Mayor Pete Meitzner said city crews are ready to work on streets, utilities and the interchange.

"I'm ready to see dirt turn out there," Meitzner said. "I never lost hope, but some of the obstacles we were working through gave me some pause. Things are starting to break up there."

Korb Maxwell, a Kansas City attorney representing the developers, said it should take about nine months to build the field house. The GoodSports group, a sports-themed development company based in Florida, is negotiating with potential retail tenants but no announcements are imminent, he said.

The Kansas Department of Commerce approved almost $32 million in STAR bonds for the project. The remaining $90 million is developer equity. The project's first phase includes the $9.5 million completion of the Kansas 96 interchange to the complex. In August and September, the council will consider a special assessment petition, the issuance of project bonds and the final approval of a development agreement.