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Century II Committee Will Make Rounds At Wichita Neighborhood Meetings

Deborah Shaar
KMUW/File photo

If you want to provide feedback on the future of Century II as a performing arts venue, here's your chance.

Members of the Century II Citizens Advisory Committee will make presentations at District Advisory Board meetings throughout Wichita in January.

Committee Chair Mary Beth Jarvis says getting input at the neighborhood level is the next step in the process.

"The input from the community and our engagement out in the public will allow us to fine-tune our recommendation, and then we can get out with that and start the dialogue around the recommendation," Jarvis says.

Jarvis says renovating the nearly 50-year-old Century II or building a new performing arts facility would likely cost about $200 million or more.

Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell appointed the Citizens Advisory Committee in February. The independent group of 12 volunteers is tasked with researching options for Century II as a performing arts facility and guiding a final decision.

Jarvis says the committee reviewed previous research and listened to experts on whether to renovate or build a new facility.

"We are hopeful that our fellow citizens will trust that we went into this very objectively, spent the time it took to learn, quizzed the consultants, asked the hard questions," she says, "and are going to come out with a recommendation that we think is the best path forward for our region."

Jarvis says Century II has severe structural, safety and functionality issues that need to be addressed.

"I think there are far too many folks in our community who underestimate, like we did as committee members, the severity of the issues," she says. "There is not a 'throw a couple million dollars at it' option on the table anymore. We are just past that."

The committee’s recommendation on the best path forward is expected in January. Then, it will be up to city leaders to decide how to proceed.

The city has yet to make a decision on the future of Century II’s convention space.

Based on a consultant’s report in 2017, city leaders recommended expanding Century II’s convention space and extensively renovating the iconic, blue-domed building so it could remain a performing arts venue.

For more information on the Century II Citizens Advisory Committee or to provide input, visit CenturyIICitizensCommittee.com.

Here is a tentative list of January's District Advisory Board meetings:

District 1 – 6 p.m., Jan. 7, Atwater Center

District 4 – 6:30 p.m.,  Jan. 7, Alford Library

District 5 – 6:30 p.m., Jan. 7 , Fire Station 21

District 6 – 6:30 p.m., Jan. 7,  Evergreen Library

District 3 – 6:30 p.m., Jan. 9, Water Center,

District 2 – 6:30 p.m., Jan. 14, Rockwell Library

Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar. To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.