Heritage plugs “Saddle Rock Rodeo Resort” to Sedgwick County

Kansas ColiseumHeritage Development Group has pitched its plan to Sedgwick County to develop the Kansas Coliseum into the Saddle Rock Rodeo Resort.

Heritage wants to focus on western-themed and agricultural events at the complex.

There currently is no permanent facility for non-professional rodeos, Heritage president and CEO Greg Lippincott told commissioners.

“Sedgwick County will become recognized as becoming the ultimate facility,” Lippincott said. “Saddle Rock will become the permanent home for non-professional western and rodeo events.”

Heritage recently received an oral agreement from the National High School Rodeo Association to host the Wrangler Junior High Rodeo Finals in 2012 and 2013. No contract has been signed, but Lippincott said he believes other national events will follow.

“When you turn to the lead horse, the rest will follow, and we’ve got that lead horse,” Lippincott said.

Greg Ferris with Heritage said Saddle Rock would bring thousands of contestants to Sedgwick County every year.

Heritage says it would kick in $5 million in private money as well as rely on STAR — sales tax revenue — bonds and Community Improvement District bonds. A Community Improvement District would allow Heritage to collect a 2 percent sales tax at the site.

Commissioner Karl Peterjohn questioned whether the project would qualify for STAR bonds. State law says that qualify for such funding must invest at least $50 million.

The public may comment on Heritage’s plan and that of North American Management-Kansas online at www.sedgwickcounty.org.

Hartman Arena withdrew its plan to develop the Coliseum on Monday.