Kansas Pavilions may be worth subsidy

coliseumSedgwick County is on the right track in trying to rebrand the pavilions at the former Kansas Coliseum complex and seek new ways to boost their revenues and keep them open through at least 2016. The Kansas Pavilions have lost $650,079 this year. As the county learned recently when it proposed closing the Pavilions, the unique facility is a valued regional venue for livestock, horse and dog shows as well as flea markets and swap meets. It can handle more events, which will improve its numbers. Its appreciative users may need to pay more to keep the Pavilions open and well-maintained. And in determining the Pavilions’ future, the county needs to quantify the broader impact of Pavilions events on tourism and sales-tax receipts. But it may not be possible, or necessary, for the facility to pay for itself entirely. Some public facilities serve a community good that justifies a public subsidy.