Downtown Wichita revitalization

Articles about the redevelopment of downtown Wichita and its impact on the economic freedom of Wichitans.

Wichita planning firm hopefuls make pitch

This past Tuesday and Wednesday, the four planning firms that were selected as finalists for the master plan for the revitalization of downtown Wichita made their public presentations. I was able to attend three of the presentations. In his opening remarks to the Tuesday session, Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer said that tonight is an important night for our community. He said that the revitalization effort is about more than just downtown, but about all of us. "Downtown is our front porch." We must come together as a community in this effort. Studies of other cities, he said, show that downtown…
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Lutz, Hanson, Fahnestock owe Wichita an apology

In the campaign for the sales tax to build the downtown Wichita arena (Intrust Bank Arena), the idea of hosting NCAA men's basketball games was promoted as something that would happen if voters approved the arena. This week we learned that for this event, our arena has been rejected for the next three years. Three arena boosters in particular -- Bob Hanson of the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission, businessman George Fahnestock, and Wichita Eagle sports columnist Bob Lutz -- owe Wichita and Sedgwick County voters an apology. As it turns out, Lutz was quite the visionary in a June…
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DeBoer plan for Wichita downtown redevelopment largely realized

The following is a lightly edited version of an insightful comment left on this site by an unknown writer, the "Wichitator." Since many readers don't read comments, I've promoted this to a post. Hundreds of millions have already been spent for downtown redevelopment and what do we have to show for it? In contrast, look at the benign neglect the city has had on the thriving east and west sides of town where projects on Maize and Webb roads have prospered despite heavy property taxes. Over 20 years ago the current downtown developer of the languishing East Bank (WaterWalk) project,…
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Downtown Wichita presentations: what’s the point?

As part of its effort to revitalize downtown Wichita, the city wants to hire a planning firm. Four firms have been selected as finalists. Tuesday and Wednesday, (September 22 and 23), the firms will make public presentations as part of the selection process. I had thought that it would be great if the public would be involved in this selection process. To that end I asked -- first informally, then under the provisions of the Kansas Open Records Act -- for copies of the proposals submitted by the finalist firms. My requests were denied. (See Downtown Wichita proposals not available…
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Wichita’s redevelopment role model needs scrutiny

Kansas City Power & Light District On the City of Wichita's cable channel 7, Kansas City's Power & Light District is presented as a model for the revitalization of downtown Wichita. Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer sees this district as Wichita's competition. So yesterday I went to take a look for myself. And I agree with the mayor. It's a neat place. It's huge. It would be great if Wichita had something like it. But there are problems surfacing already. Although I haven't yet done extensive research, it appears that the troubles stem from the public/private partnership nature of the district.…
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Downtown Wichita proposals not available to citizens

As part of Wichita's downtown revitalization effort, city leaders decided to hire a planning firm. Four firms have been selected as finalists, and a committee is in the process of evaluating their proposals. Whether or not you think this planning process is wise -- and I happen to think it is not -- it seems to be the will of the city and the special interest groups that will benefit from this type of central planning. So, it seems, we might as well make the best of it. This would include selecting a planning firm that seems most likely to…
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At Wichita city council, special pleading of selfish interests

At yesterday's meeting of the the Wichita City Council, a matter was presented to the council that provided an illustration of basic economic principles that are foreign to the council. A condominium homeowners association asked for special assessment tax financing to make repairs to the building. My remarks that I delivered at the meeting were based on my post In Wichita, waiving guidelines makes for bad policy. David M. Bryan, a Wichita attorney and resident of the building, represented the the homeowners association that is asking for the special assessment financing. He spoke after I did. His wife accompanied him…
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In Wichita, waiving guidelines makes for bad policy

Remarks to be delivered to the August 18, 2009 meeting of the Wichita City Council. Mr. Mayor, members of the Wichita City Council, I am here to ask you to deny the request for special assessment financing for the Lofts at St. Francis homeowners association to make repairs to their building. I've spoken to this council about how the facade improvement program, in general, is bad public policy. In this case, it's bad public policy compounded by the waiver of principles or guidelines that this council recently set in place. I realize that special assessment financing means that the city…
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Wichita special assessments for repairs is bad policy

At Tuesday's meeting of the Wichita City Council, a privately-owned condominium association is seeking special assessment financing to make repairs to its building. In order for the association to succeed in its request, the council will have to waive two guidelines of Wichita's facade improvement program. Special assessment financing means that the cost of the repairs, up to $112,620 in this case, will be added to the building’s property taxes. Actually, in this case, to each of the condominium owners’ taxes. They’ll pay it off over the course of 15 years. (A conversation with the president of the homeowners association…
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Wichita downtown revitalization discussed on Kansas Week

Bob Weeks discusses planning for downtown Wichita revitalization and what he learned on his trip to the Platinum Triangle in Anaheim, California. Host Tim Brown and guest Randy Brown also appear. From the KPTS Television show Kansas Week, August 14, 2009. The article referred to is Wichita’s getting ready to plan.
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