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City of Derby News Releases

Posted on: November 10, 2021

Open House on STAR Bond Final Phase

Glamping Sample

The City of Derby will host a community open house on Tuesday, November 30 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at The Venue at Madison Avenue Central Park, 512 E. Madison Ave. to explain more about the businesses that could build in Derby as part of the Final Phase of STAR bonds. 

City staff and members of Derby Destination Development, LLC, Imagine Resorts & Hotels, and other STAR bond business partners will be available to respond to questions and provide information. 

“Derby has a reputation as a family-friendly community where people around the state and region visit for ball tournaments, aquatic fun and Field Station Dinosaurs,” said Rick Worner of Derby Destination Development, LLC. 

Next year, new attractions are bringing several adventuresome activities to Derby (, climbing, BMX and more). This proposed final phase would build on that momentum and feature a man-made lagoon and Marriott hotel. The 3.3-acre lagoon will feature multiple water sport activities and will have an acre of covered indoor space for year-round access. 

A glamping business out of Kansas City called Suite Tea and an aerial park are also being proposed. Land adjacent to these outdoor adventure attractions is drawing interest from several other businesses for apartments, restaurants and possibly senior housing.

While a public hearing is scheduled for Dec. 14 at the City Council meeting, the purpose of this open house is to provide a more relaxed setting in a come-and-go style. Curious residents are welcome to come anytime between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. in The Venue building. Also at the park that evening will be the annual City Christmas Tree Lighting at 6 p.m. outside in the park.

The State of Kansas established STAR bonds as an economic development tool to partner with cities and private businesses to make possible attractions that would (1) stimulate the general and economic welfare of Kansas communities and (2) increase tourism and visitors from outside the state. 

STAR bond projects in Derby involve no increases in taxes or new taxes. STAR bond projects are paid for using both private capital provided by the businesses involved and future sales tax revenues earned within the STAR bond district. 

“Most cities in Kansas provide some type of financial incentives to assist certain businesses with construction or expansion, often partnering with state incentive programs,” said Kathy Sexton, City Manager. “In Derby, we use very few tax incentive programs commonly provided in other communities (CID, TIF, IRB, etc.). The STAR bond program is our primary tool. Participating businesses add to the property tax base in their first year of operations, which means an excellent return on investment for the city, state and other governments that rely on property tax funding (schools, county, etc.).” 

Rick Worner developed the original STAR bond district in Kansas City nearly 20 years ago featuring the Kansas Speedway, Nebraska Furniture Mart and The Legends Outlets. The lagoon and hotel would be owned and managed by Imagine Resorts & Hotels. Craig Stark is co-founder of Imagine Resorts & Hotels. Twenty years ago, he and his partners founded Great Wolf Lodge. Both Worner and Stark will participate in the Open House. 

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