Local foes of public-private partnerships got some potent ammunition from the Wichita City Council’s decision Tuesday to retool the KenMar development project. The reinvention of the once-decaying corner at 13th and Oliver hasn’t gone as planned in August 2008, necessitating some retroactive changes to the deal between the city and developers and the use of $2.5 million in city subsidies. But what local business and development plans haven’t hit detours over the past few years? The developers’ change of plans, including the sale of land to Walmart, could have used more transparency and scrutiny, as critics contend. But what matters most is that a commercial center once known for promoting crime is getting a Walmart neighborhood grocery and that property taxes on the site are now expected to pay back the city’s investment, plus 3 percent interest, over the next 17 years.
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