Politics & Government

City Council meeting about $1 an acre land sale moved to evening for public feedback

Specifics about new ballpark in Wichita unveiled

Officials from the city, along with architecture and construction firms, talk about new renderings of a new AAA ballpark that will be built in Delano. (Jan. 23, 2019)
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Officials from the city, along with architecture and construction firms, talk about new renderings of a new AAA ballpark that will be built in Delano. (Jan. 23, 2019)

Wichita’s City Council approved moving its Tuesday meeting from the morning to the evening, with the goal of drawing a larger crowd to discuss a proposed $1 an acre sale of city land.

The land sale is being offered as part of a side deal between the city and the owners of the New Orleans Baby Cakes to bring the Triple-A Minor League baseball team to Wichita. The city has already agreed to build the team a new stadium and started construction on that project last month.

But the team won’t come without the land sale, which would allow the team to develop near the stadium, Mayor Jeff Longwell said last week.

The existence of the agreement, or that the team’s move to Wichita depends on it, wasn’t publicly known until it was reported in The Wichita Eagle last week. The City Council didn’t have a copy of the agreement until four days before the council was expected to vote on it, Vice Mayor Jeff Blubaugh said Friday.

Tuesday’s meeting also will include discussion of the second phase of construction on the stadium, which doesn’t have a final design yet.

The meeting is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. on Tuesday in the council chambers on the first floor of City Hall, 455 N. Main. People entering City Hall are required to go through a security checkpoint.

The council usually meets at 9 a.m., when many Wichitans are at work or in school. But Vice Mayor Jeff Blubaugh said that because this issue has ignited so much public interest, he wants to make sure anyone who wants to can attend the meeting.

Public comments at council meetings are typically limited to five minutes per person.

To see the full agenda packet for the meeting go to wichita.gov/council and click on “Agenda Packets.”

Read The Eagle’s recent coverage of the ballpark project below:

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Chance Swaim won the Betty Gage Holland Award in 2018 for distinguished service to honor and protect the integrity of public dialogue on America’s college campuses. He has been a news reporter for The Wichita Eagle since 2018. You can contact him at 316-269-6752 and cswaim@wichitaeagle.com.

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