The letters to the editor continue to roll in, bemoaning the Wichita City Council’s decision to loan Bill Warren $6 million to remake the Old Town Warren Theatre money pit. And I continue to wonder what the writers are missing.
The council’s willingness to throw in financially with downtown developers isn’t new, so the Warren support should surprise no one.
There’s a good chunk of city money behind the Minnesota Guys downtown. There’s the downtown Hyatt. There’s independent league baseball and the National Baseball Congress.
And if you want to roll the clock back almost six years, there’s $36 million in tax increment financing tied up in WaterWalk. That’s spending on an area that likely would be bustling today, save the decision of former mayor Carlos Mayans and an earlier council to yank money away. That’s a decision some believe cost WaterWalk a Bass Pro Shop, one of those coveted anchor tenants that brings a boatload of business with it to any development.
The debate on the city’s financial involvement in the Warren isn’t surprising, but the complainers seem a little late to the party. Personally, I wonder what, if anything, would be taking place downtown if the city wasn’t involved.