Kansas Coliseum marketing taken from group

Britt Brown Arena and the Sam Fulco pavilions make up the Kansas Coliseum.
Britt Brown Arena and the Sam Fulco pavilions make up the Kansas Coliseum. The Wichita Eagle

Heritage Development Group no longer can market or promote the Kansas Coliseum, Sedgwick County commissioners decided Wednesday.

In July, commissioners — at chairman Kelly Parks' urging in an off-agenda item — gave Heritage the go-ahead to promote the Coliseum complex as a venue to rodeo and other groups.

Last week, Parks expressed concerns that Heritage had misrepresented its relationship with the county to others.

On Wednesday, commissioners voted 4-0 — board member Karl Peterjohn was out of the room — to rescind the motion that allowed Heritage to market the Coliseum.

Parks said last week he was looking into whether Heritage committed fraud when making its pitch to have the National High School Rodeo Association's 2012 and 2013 Wrangler Junior High Rodeo Finals at the Coliseum by leading the group to believe the county was building the "Saddle Rock Rodeo Resort" there.

The rodeo association reached a tentative agreement with Heritage to have the junior high rodeo finals at the Coliseum in 2012 and 2013. No contract has been signed, and whether the event will take place at the Coliseum remains unknown.

Greg Lippincott, president and CEO of Heritage, said last week there was no fraud. Efforts to reach him Wednesday were unsuccessful.

Heritage did present the Saddle Rock plan to the rodeo group, but Lippincott said "they were quite aware that it was a speculative plan."

Assistant County Manager Ron Holt said Wednesday that the county still was waiting to see the proposal that Heritage gave the rodeo group. The rodeo group said it would send it, but the county has not yet received it.

Holt said last week that the county had some concerns that Heritage "may have indicated there are going to be facilities out there to host that event that are not going to be there."

Britt Brown Arena is scheduled to close in February, and the pavilions are scheduled to remain open at least through next year.

Heritage's Saddle Rock plan was one of three the county considered for the Coliseum. The county has not accepted any of them.

Hartman Arena withdrew its plan before it reached commissioners. County staff recommended endorsing a plan by North American Management-Kansas, which wanted to build a mix of retail and entertainment at the complex, but commissioners did not approve starting negotiations with the group.

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