Following a marathon 4.5 hour Salina City Commission Special Meeting, a refurbished and revitalized downtown is a step closer to becoming a reality.
By a 5-0 vote city commissioner approved multiple complex funding mechanisms that include adopting a STAR Bond Project Plan for a STAR Bond District, which has already been approved by the Kansas Department of Commerce. Funding will also come from Industrial Revenue Bonds, not to exceed an amount of which will be amended to a little over $30 million, and several Downtown Redevelopment District designations.
An agreement with an organization called “Salina 2020” was also approved.
A key component to the funding is the new downtown area attracting visitors from a wide area, which will generate tax money. The entire project is estimated to cost just over $150 million. About $105 million of the project will be private funding.
Multiple citizens, and downtown business owners spoke. Nearly all were in favor of the project.
The vision includes multiple major projects in a 28 block area of downtown Salina that would redefine and revitalize it. A field house project which is underway, and will be completed by this summer, will help generate other projects, and investors.
Potential projects include, but are not limited to:
- A Homewood Suites by Hilton five-story hotel on Mulberry between Santa Fe and Fifth streets built by Salina-based Blue Beacon International
- Hotel Restaurant
- Old Chicago Restaurant
- A “restaurant incubator” business
- An “America’s Crossroads Car Collection” museum
- “The Alley”, a bowling alley and indoor fun center
- University of Kansas Medical School
- Medical Student Housing (Apartments)
- Lee Buildings (Low-Income Housing)
- City Public Improvements (Streetscape)
- Existing Retail Improvements
- Stiefel Theatre Renovations
Plans also include narrowing Santa Fe from a four-lane street to a three-lane street. Traffic would flow in one lane in each direction, with a center turning lane. The redesign would open up more sidewalk space, thus opening up outdoor seating for downtown businesses.