Bannister NOT Wizards Only Option

I’ve been asked to repost this entry from my blog, Down the Byline.

One day after Mayor Funkhouser stated that while “excited” about the planned redevelopment of Bannister Mall, he didn’t want the plan to use the Super TIF that the plan called for, the developers stated their displeasure in his decision.

The article has quotes from the councilwoman, Cathy Jolly, of the district that includes the Bannister Mall complex. Her and councilman, John Sharp are definitely for this development. To overrule a potential veto by Mayor Funkhouser, Jolly and Sharp would have to get the backing of 6 more of their colleagues to be on board with them. To override the veto, the council would need a 3/4’s majority (8 of 12).

Should the plan not pass, it’s not like the Wizards will be left out in the cold. As with all good businessmen, OnGoal LLC has a backup plan should the Bannister plan fail. That plan involves the team staying in Kansas and moving down south to Olathe. While OnGoal still says that Bannister is where they want to play, the city of Olathe has approached the team about using STAR bonds to help build a stadium out in the southern KC suburb.

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18 Responses

  1. Any idea where in Olathe they would build the stadium? Some time ago their was talk of knocking down The Great Plains Mall to build it there. Also would it still be the same development idea, office, retail stadium if they went to Olathe or completely new idea? You may not know, but I thought someone might.

  2. What is a STAR bond?

  3. No idea, where it would be located. It’s been speculated that it’d be the Great Mall plan like it was before, but it could be a bit further north to put it not so far out there.

    STAR Bonds:
    http://www.kansascommerce.com/Customers/Communities/Services/CommunityResources.aspx?rscId=1055854230910&tval=70
    STAR bonds provide Kansas municipalities the opportunity to issue bonds to finance the development of major commercial entertainment and tourism areas and use sales tax revenue generated by the development to pay off the bonds.

  4. Please Wizards…build it in Johnson County. Olathe would be great! NO BANNISTER!

  5. Olathe, specifically the Great Mall site would be TERRIBLE for the rest of the metro area. It’s out on the edge of the metro area. The Bannister site actually puts the stadium close to the metro area’s population center (which is around Brookside). Putting it in Olathe would alienate not only those fans on the north side of town (anyone north of the river). It would also alienate all your fans on the east side of town (Blue Springs, Lee’s Summit, etc). Bannister really is the best location because of it’s central location.

    The only reason to not want it there compared to Olathe is because of selfish reasons (living in Olathe) or because of the preconceived notion of crime in that area, which is not true. Crime isn’t much higher at the Bannister area then it is out in Olathe. And in fact a new development like this one would likely bring down the crime level.

  6. Personally I’d prefer Olathe, but Bannister is a better site for the team to be centrally located to the entire metroplex, except oddly the very location they will be playing in the next two years.

    Olathe is pretty safe though, I know a guy who never even locks his front door.

  7. But Olathe is full of soccer fans and the city seems to be building that direction. I do hope Bannister is done, but Olathe is not a bad option either, real fans will travel and there are tons of locals (not real fans) who would go to a game in Olathe yet, who wouldn’t go to Bannister, mostly I’m thinking of rich white people.

  8. KWR is right. Are you telling me the potental draw of fans comes more from the Bannister area than Jo. co? No way.

    Buying season tickets is a no brainer if it’s within an easy 20 minute drive and in a good area. No way I’ll do that if it’s at Bannister.

  9. No I’m not saying there are more season ticket holders in the Bannister area. But, when you consider the fact that Bannister is easy access for anyone from downtown (bus routes), not to mention the fact that it doesn’t alienate your fans further north or east. Yes I think there is more potential draw from the Bannister location, then if you were to put the stadium in Olathe.

    There is more drawing power for the Wizards being at a more central location then there is for being in Olathe, because they don’t completely alienate any part of the city.

  10. Bannister is good for a number of reasons. As has been stated its centrally located. It has easy access to both highway and public transportation.

    If you don’t want to drive the 15 minutes to get from your house in Olathe, we don’t want you anyway.

  11. Seriously CM? That’s lame.

    Incidentally, it takes every bit of 30 minutes to get to Bannister from Olathe, that’s if traffic at the Triangle isn’t bad.

    I don’t think the stadium has to be in Olathe, I do think it would be better directly off I-35 somewhere, however.

  12. CM, while I won’t usually use the word “lame” I think AJF is right your response is “lame.” The we don’t want you anyway statement is a statement obviously from a die hard fan and AJF is obviously not yet a die hard fan. His point is that to gain the support of the average fan it should be in a safe accessible location, which is huge for the Wizards to survive in the long run. If all they cared about were the die hards they could host the games at a high school stadium in the middle of the ghetto handing out handguns as promotions. The Wizards do however need to find a way to get guys (or gals) like AJF to attend games and in the long run some of these people will be converted to die hards.

  13. Safe is a state of mind though. When you have 18,000 people around you, as you would at a Wizards game at Bannister, wouldn’t your feel safer? The whole safety in numbers thing.

    There’s a bad stigma about the area. Having grown up in that area I know that area isn’t as bad as is believed by many people. Could it use improvement? Of course, most areas of the city could in some form or another.

    As for the whole guys like AJF vs “diehards”, there’s been a great discussion on that whole thing on bigsoccer based on the below ESPN article
    http://www.bigsoccer.com/forum/showthread.php?t=629590
    http://soccernet.espn.go.com/columns/story?id=487388&root=mls&cc=5901

  14. I don’t know what makes one “die hard”, I’ll admit I’m probably not that committed, but I am very interested and got to a bunch of games at Arrowhead this year. I am seriously considering season tickets, maybe splitting them with a friend.

    I think there are lots of people in my category…more closer to I-35 access than Bannister.

    I’ll go to games if their at Bannister-heck, I’ll go to many games next year at the T-Bones place, I love soccer, just not as many and I think this is true for many like me. Long term I see Bannister as bad.

  15. I apologize for being lame. But honestly, the Bannister location is a good choice. It has access which you claim you want (just because its not on your doorstep, doesn’t negate that) and while it has a reputation as being in a “bad neighborhood” but that is really just an exaggeration. I’ve been there hundreds of times and have never had anything happen to me. I’m just your average white guy.

    The biggest contributor to the problem was Bannister Mall, and that will be gone if the plan goes through.

    The other thing to consider is this, the development of the entire area will make the stadium that much safer.

    And finally, I really only said the “we don’t want you” to make a point. I think there are 18K people in the area that would go. Wizards Stadium would become a destination. The stadium and its environs would be right off of the highway. A major highway, I-435. I really can’t see it taking 30 minutes to get there from Olathe, but I don’t live there so I can’t really argue that point. But is 30 minutes really that bad? Would the extra 15 minutes it would likely be from your area make that big a difference to your decision to come out?

  16. As recently as 2 years ago, season ticket holders were split almost 50-50 between Johnson and Jackson County.

    I think most people would be very surprised at just how much of the fanbase comes from Lee’s Summit, Blue Springs, Independence, Raytown, and Southeast KC.

    While you might gain quite a few Johnson County season ticket holders by a move to Olathe, would it be enough to offset the portions of the city now over an hour+ away from the stadium?

  17. Listen, I’m not die hard, but I’m more than an average fan, no doubt. I coach a youth team. I know lots of soccer people in Jo. Co.. Like it or not, Bannister is a negative, no matter how much you want to speak of the area’s safety.

    Will I go if it’s there? Sure. I probably won’t get season tickets, like I would if it were along I-35 more. I think many think the same.

  18. Being in Wichita, I guess I really don’t care, but we’d better get a stadium, because I’m tired of looking at all of those empty stands.

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