The Manhattan City Commission approved the first readings of amendments to sales tax and revenue (STAR) bonds Tuesday, thus taking a step towards the creation of the Museum of Art and Light in downtown Manhattan.
The $43.6 million project will be funded by private donations, STAR bonds and about $200,000 per year through 2027 in city sales tax and transient guest tax.
While Mayor Wynn Butler expressed concern about city money not being used elsewhere, commissioner Mark Hatesohl voiced support for the funding mechanism.
Concerns were also raised by community members that the construction of the museum in the parking lot southeast of the Flint Hills Discovery Center will cause parking issues for nearby businesses.
City officials, including commissioner Usha Reddi, explained that a parking shortage can be a good problem to have since it can mean there is an abundance of visitors and customers.
Reddi also says the museum, which will contain local and international art, will help attract visitors to Manhattan and expose people to culture from around the world.
Despite concerns about the project, officials explained that the project’s location and design have not been finalized.
For more on the city’s discussion concerning the Museum of Art and Light, click here.
Indoor Aquatic Center
The Manhattan City Commission unanimously authorized Tuesday a feasibility study for an indoor aquatic center.
While such a study and associated labor normally costs between $100,000 and $120,000, a team of architects and engineers is offering its services for about $15,000.
Reddi says that while she doesn’t have a problem with the study, she wants to make sure it looks at what it will take to operate and maintain the facility.
Commissioner Linda Morse also expressed support for the study.
However, she says she wants the city to focus on completing its obligations to existing “debt projects,” such as the North Campus Corridor.
Hatesohl says he wants to pursue partnerships with local entities, such as the Kansas State University Foundation, to help fund the potential project.
Officials say the study will likely take about four to five months to complete.
For more on the city’s discussion concerning the indoor aquatic center feasibility study, click here.