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Council sets June 8 hearing for Bowllagio project

The $95 million Bowllagio project planned for a 32 acre site on Maize Road north of Kellogg inched forward today.

Wichita City Council members set a June 8 hearing where they’ll hear comments and decide whether to endorse the project and send it along to the state for further analysis and approval of an estimated $13 million in Star bonds, which use the growth in sales taxes to pay for qualified parts of the development.

The process of getting the Star bonds would take at least three months.

Some council members said they don’t oppose a public hearing, but that they have a lot of questions and worry that it could become a battle on the state level.

Council member Sue Schlapp said the Star bond issue is “pretty painful” for her. She said she wants an update on how the process would work. "I'm not sure I want to use up all my chips without knowing exactly where I'm going,” she said.

The  initial phase calls for a huge bowling alley with a high-tech training center for bowlers worldwide and restaurant sites that would be sold. Later phases would include a 4-level hotel and more restaurants and retail stores.

Ray Baty, general manager of West Acres Bowl, said that three bowling centers have recently closed in Wichita and that he questions whether the public financing of Bowllagio will contribute to more closing.

"It's a struggle out there in the bowling industry,” he said.