Wichita City Council approves $100,000 for Riverfront master plan

WICHITA, Kan. Update July 9, 2019

The Wichita City Council Tuesday took a crucial step to reshape one of Wichita's most popular areas. The group did so by agreeing to provide $100,000 in funding to help create a master plan for the east bank of the Arkansas River downtown.

The money will be used to help develop a plan with an architectural design firm working with a coalition. The plan is called "The Riverfront Legacy Master Plan."

Part of the process includes public input on how the riverfront should look.

"We want to make sure that we have the attractions, the destinations that make Wichita a relevant city. And that's how we spur economic development. That's how we spur economic development. That's how we spur growth. That's how we continue to thrive," says Darryl Kelly with Young Professionals of Wichita.

Wednesday, the coalition will also ask for $100,000 from Sedgwick County. It will host public meetings throughout the year, the first of which is set for July 31.

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July 2, 2019

An effort to reshape what one of Wichita's most popular areas looks like is underway with the Riverfront Legacy Master Plan. The group working on that plan is taking a look at the footprint and figuring out what makes sense in the area -- along the Arkansas River and near the heart of downtown Wichita -- whether that be buildings, green space, etc...

The Riverfront Legacy Master Plan group also wants to see how a master plan ties into work that's going on with the west bank, with the new baseball stadium and in the Delano District.

Ultimately, the plan calls for tying this all together to create a more vibrant Wichita. Community engagement is a key part of the process, the group says. It will host public meetings throughout the year, the first of which is set for July 31.

"The goal of the plan itself is to create a comprehensive vision and master plan for future development on the east bank of the Arkansas River, with a focus on the area south of Douglas Avenue to US-54/Kellogg and east to Main Street," the Riverfront Legacy Master Plan group says. "The plan will consider all elements together, including a performing arts center, convention center, Century II, the former library, pedestrian bridge and open riverfront gathering space, as well as connecting elements from Kellogg to Douglas, west bank development, downtown and area neighborhoods."

Presentations of the final plan are expected early next year (2020).

People are encouraged to attend meetings and provide feedback and ask questions online. The group says organizers will have a website available to help keep the public engaged, "as plans progress."

“This is an exciting time for our community, and this planning process promises to build on the momentum of multiple initiatives working together to change perceptions, and attract talent and industry to the Wichita region,” says Shelly Prichard, President and CEO of the Wichita Community Foundation. “This is a chance for everyone to participate in defining the vision for the riverfront where these initiatives can come together and thrive.”

Prichard says the Riverfront Legacy Master plan is long term, looking at Wichita's development well beyond the next five to 10 years.

"...This is for the next 50 years for Wichita," she says. "This kind of work and this kind of expense is going to have to be really forward looking so that's why it's important that Wichitans and other people who want to be involved come talk to us and tell us what they want to see there and what would make sense for them."