The Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission is supporting Heritage Development Group's proposal for the Kansas Coliseum.
Heritage wants to build the "Saddle Rock Rodeo Resort" at the Coliseum and market the complex for participant-driven rodeo events. Heritage has an agreement __ but no contract yet — with the National High School Rodeo Association to hold the Wrangler Junior High Rodeo Finals at the Coliseum in 2012 and 2013.
Bob Hanson, president and CEO of the Sports Commission, said Heritage has "demonstrated that these rodeo entities are interested in coming here if they build the project the way Heritage wants to.
"This will be a mecca," he said. "I think they have a great vision that I think this community's looking for to bring new development. It will bring people who have never been here."
The commission, a private nonprofit group, promotes bringing regional and national sporting events to the Wichita area.
Sedgwick County earlier this year sent out requests for proposals for plans to redevelop the aging complex off I-135 near 85th Street North. It received three proposals: Heritage's, one from North American Management-Kansas and one from Hartman Arena.
Hartman Arena later withdrew its proposal.
North American wants to build an entertainment and retail venue with hotels while addressing Americans With Disabilities Act issues at Britt Brown Arena.
Commissioners Kelly Parks and Gwen Welshimer have indicated they support the North American proposal because it makes use of Britt Brown Arena. Heritage's proposal does not incorporate the arena because its consultants said ADA issues would be too costly to fix.
A committee reviewing the proposals met Thursday, but there's still no word on when it will make a recommendation to commissioners or when commissioners will decide whether to accept one of the proposals.