Briefly Noted: Prairiefire’s struggles raise questions about STAR bonds program; Shawnee’s imagineering sessions

Leah Wankum - July 9, 2019 7:08 am

Prairiefire’s struggles raise questions about STAR bonds program. An analysis by The Kansas City Star shows that the Prairiefire development in Overland Park has not been the draw city leaders hoped for when they approved a sales tax revenue (STAR) bond program. The maturity date for the first $15 million slice of bonds is approaching in 2023, but Prairiefire has only paid back $130,000 of the original principal, leaving a $64.8 million outstanding balance after seven years. To further exacerbate the issue: Prairiefire has repaid none of the principal on about $13 million in community improvement district bonds issued by Overland Park. The development has reached into a reserve fund to make interest payments because it hasn’t generated enough sales tax on its own. Plus, part of Prairiefire’s STAR bonds deal included the $27 million Museum at Prairiefire, but it’s no longer hosting traveling exhibits from the American Museum of Natural History in New York, as originally promised. [‘Ultimate pork project’: Kansas’ mega tax breaks don’t deliver as promised — The Kansas City Star]

Shawnee asking for public input in visioning sessions on future of city. The city of Shawnee is asking for input from the community on plans for the city’s future. The city is launching “Imagine Shawnee” to help guide the governing body and city staff on decisions that will impact the city in the years to come. Some of the questions the city will ask at the upcoming sessions include:

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  • What kinds of development do you want to see in our community?
  • What kinds of services and programs do you think the city should focus on over the next several decades?
  • What kind of community do you want Shawnee to be when your children are choosing where to live?

Here are details for the time and location of the upcoming sessions:

  • Monday, July 15 from 4 to 6 p.m. at Transport Brewery, 11113 Johnson Drive
  • Saturday, Aug. 17 from 9 to 11 a.m. at Erfurt Park, 24135 W. 71st St.
  • Thursday, Sept. 12 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Tomahawk Hills Golf Course, 17501 Midland Drive

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