The failed College Hill urban village project and tax-increment financing district is a cautionary tale, with the city now on the hook for $400,000 in back taxes and looking for buyers to recoup its $7 million investment in the land and improvements. Involving the former site of a run-down state office building, the public-private plan to enhance a historic Wichita residential neighborhood sounded great at the time. The problem was that the time, 2006-07, gave way to the Great Recession and its frozen financing. At least the site’s infrastructure and location make it ripe for development now. And the city already has acted to prevent such taxpayer exposure in the future, by stepping up vetting of potential partners and by requiring developers of public-assisted projects to provide personal guarantees backed by actual assets. – Rhonda Holman
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