To the editor:
The Rock Chalk Park sports complex was sold to the taxpayers as a partnership with Kansas University, although KU has never been a party to the deal. Our partners are Fritzel Construction, KU Athletics, Inc. and the KU Endowment Association.
We were told that we would pay for a $20 million building and share the costs of the infrastructure (parking lots, drainage and landscaping), with the KU Athletics. The taxpayers would pay about $4 million for infrastructure, and KU Athletics would pay about $5 million. The taxpayers would purchase the land from KUEA and pay architects fees.
When the public called for public bidding, the cost of the building from Fritzel dropped to $10 million, but the taxpayers will not see any savings because the flawed development agreement shifts a larger share of the infrastructure costs to the taxpayers. Now the infrastructure costs have risen to $12.3 million. We can only imagine how much less these costs could be if they were put out for public bid. The taxpayers must now pay for all of the infrastructure costs, and KU Athletics will pay for none.
So we get a $10 million building, we buy $6 million of infrastructure for our recreation center and give away $6 million of infrastructure to KU Athletics.
This $6 million mistake leaves the taxpayers with two questions:
Will our City Commission renegotiate this very bad development agreement?
Will our partners — Fritzel, KU Athletics and the KU Endowment Association — contribute a fair share toward the infrastructure?