Prairiefire and STAR bonds — 3 takeaways from state auditors’ critical evaluation

Kansas Legislature's auditors released a report detailing many of the issues with STAR bond financed projects. Excluding West Village in Wyandotte County, only three of 16 STAR bond financed attractions met their goals in tourism. As part of the report, Prairiefire was closely evaluated and found to be one of the 13 project not meeting its goals as a STAR bond. Filed image.

An analysis by Kansas state auditors released this week offers a stinging evaluation of the state’s Sales Tax and Revenue, or STAR, bonds program, turning an especially critical eye on the bonds’ usage for the Prairiefire Museum in southern Overland Park.

The audit concludes, in part, that it could take the state decades to recoup sales tax revenues diverted for Prairiefire and that, ultimately, the site along 135th Street would have developed anyway without STAR bonds’ help.