Public weighs in on planned tourist attraction in Derby

Published: Nov. 30, 2021 at 11:23 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The City of Derby heard public feedback Tuesday night on a project developers say would bring a quarter of a million people to town each year. The project is called “Crystal Lagoons,” a tourist attraction with a public beach, aquatic sports, hotels and more. The plans come with a hefty price tag, about $130 million.

Last month, the Derby City Council voted to expand its STAR bond district to fund the Crystal Lagoons project planned for acreage near Rock Road and Patriot Avenue. The proposal for the project comes from the same developers behind the Great Wolf Lodge in Kansas City.

“This developer is proposing a public/private partnership to bring in a new attraction, a public-access lagoon where people can do watersports, plus Marriot Suites hotels connected to an indoor waterpark,” Derby City Manager Kathy Sexton said.

The development would also include several restaurants, apartment spaces and “glamping,” or “glamorous camping.”

“It gives them the benefit of being outdoors right up by the watersports area,” Sexton explained. “This is going to be a perfect place for a destination wedding, for example., other kinds of parties and events.”

The project’s goal is to increase tourism, specifically for people from out of state. Derby city leaders say funding the project won’t raise taxes. Instead, they say, taxes from purchases made at the attraction once it’s finished will help pay for the development.

On Dec. 14, the Derby City Council will vote on this final phase. Even if the proposal passes, it will take several years before the project is complete. There are still several steps to go through next year before developers can break ground. The hope, though is to have Crystal Lagoons completed by 2024.

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