City to discuss plan to add museum to Riverfront Stadium

Published: Jan. 8, 2021 at 5:42 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) -The Wichita Wind Surge will finally take its new home field for the first time this spring after the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out what was supposed to have been the minor league club’s inaugural season in 2020. As the city looks ahead to the return of professional baseball in Wichita, the city council at its meeting next Tuesday (Jan. 12) is expected to move forward with plans for a baseball museum at Riverfront Stadium.

In December 2018, about two months after allocating about $77 million for the Riverfront Multi-Sport Stadium, the Wichita City Council approved a design-and-build agreement with JE Dunn-Eby to construct improvements that included rough work for a museum space. The city said “$600,000 was set aside to complete the programming, design, and construction of the museum space,” On Tuesday, the city recommends that Wichita City Council approve the design and construction contract for the sports museum at the stadium.

In 2013, the city council authorized the creation of the National Baseball Congress Baseball Foundation. Part of this includes an agreement with the NBC Foundation to collect and document memorabilia for the new museum. The annual NBC World Series in Wichita going back to the 1930s is one of the most historically-rich amateur tournaments in baseball with a multitude of former Major League players participating before they became household names. This includes several enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

With the establishment of the NBC Foundation in 2013, the city loaned the foundation $150,000 “for appropriate start-up expenses related to the management of the annual NBC tournament” (the NBC World Series).

“As the collection plan is developed and the artifacts are acquired, the NBC Foundation’s outstanding loan obligation to the City would be forgiven,” the City of Wichita explained. “With the completion of the collection plan and identification of donors, 45% of the loan would be forgiven. The NBC Foundation would receive another 45% credit when it gathers a sufficient number of artifacts and provides sufficient narrative information for the collection. A final 10% credit would be provided when the museum design team accepts the final items and documentation. The NBC Foundation’s collection activities would be conducted in coordination with the museum design team.”

In the information it provided Friday (Jan.8), the city did not give a timeline for when construction of the stadium’s museum would start and when it would open.

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