A coalition of local organizations has released its final recommendation for redevelopment of the east bank of the Arkansas River in downtown Wichita.
The design calls for a new performing arts facility and a new convention center, along with 12 acres of green space with a new park along the riverfront, and a pedestrian bridge to connect the area to the new baseball stadium on the west bank of the river. The various projects under the Riverfront Legacy Master Plan would be phased in over a 10 to 15-year period.
The plan calls for the demolition of the former downtown library and the demolition of the Century II convention center. The library would be demolished in the first three to five years of the project, while Century II would be demolished in five to ten years as a new convention center and public plaza are constructed.
It’s estimated the plan would take over $1 billion to construct with investments from public, private and philanthropic sources.
Shelly Pritchard, president and CEO of the Wichita Community Foundation, said the recommendations are based on guiding principles provided by the Riverfront Legacy coalition, input from the community and market research and studies.
The coalition will be working with the Wichita city council, the Sedgwick County Commission and citizen advisory boards as the plan moves forward. The coalition includes Downtown Wichita, the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce, The Wichita Community Foundation, the Visit Wichita convention and visitors bureau, and the Greater Wichita Partnership.
A citizens group called Save Century II has started circulating petitions calling for a vote of the people on the future of the former library and the Century II convention center buildings. The group wants to get the issue on the November election ballot.