Sports Arena vote coming

By Shelby Horton

Staff photo/Collegian - A concrete arch at the Sports Arena has began to crumble, revealing cement-coated aggregate rock and rusted steel rebar in a foot-long opening.
Staff photo/Collegian - A concrete arch at the Sports Arena has began to crumble, revealing cement-coated aggregate rock and rusted steel rebar in a foot-long opening.

Hutchinson voters, on Tuesday, April 7, will decide the fate of the Hutchinson Sports Arena. Voters will decide if the Sports Arena will be updated or the project will be scuttled and the NJCAA tournament will be moved to another location.

The “HutchWins!” campaign has been urging voters to “Vote Yes,” and allow the Sports Arena to be updated. The group believes that updating the Sports Arena will pay off. The arena has generates up to $400,000 yearly from the 3A basketball tournament, and $1.3 million from the national tourney, according to Hutchinson Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The proposed renovation budget is $29 million, which will be funded by a .35 percent sales tax increase for 10 years, bringing the total sales tax in Hutchinson to 8.75 percent.

“I think it would be good for the city of Hutchinson,” said Brad Fenwick, a history instructor at HCC.

However despite the potential benefit from the renovation, Matt Lowen, president and CEO of the Hutchinson-based graphic design company Lowen Corporation, has taken action by handing out “Vote No” signs for free.

Lowen believes that by allowing this renovation the tax increases will make the community “less competitive with our neighbors” and cause a regressive tax that will be forced on lower income families who can least afford it.

Supporters of renovation have rebutted by stating the update allows more space for fans to enjoy without congestion and be able to compete with surrounding cities better than before.

Lowen remains Skeptical, and believes these are all mere assumptions that cannot be proven. Some Hutchinson residences still are undecided on the issue.

“I don’t know how I feel about it, I don’t really use it and I’m not into sports,” said David Bosworth, a mathematics instructor at HCC.

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