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Community Groups To Combine Efforts On New Riverfront Plan

A coalition of community groups wants to create a comprehensive development plan for the river corridor in downtown Wichita.

A coalition of community organizations will create a master plan for development along the Arkansas River in coming months.

Using previous studies about riverfront development, the group wants to put together a comprehensive proposal for the downtown area along the east side of the Arkansas River called the Riverfront Legacy Master Plan. The plan also will incorporate ongoing development on the west bank, such as the new baseball stadium.

The plan will include input from seveal Wichita organizations, including Downtown Wichita, Greater Wichita Partnership, Wichita Community Foundation, the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce and Visit Wichita. The groups also will collaborate with officials from Sedgwick County and the city of Wichita.

The planning process is expected to address questions about what to do with the former downtown library building, Century II and where a new performing arts center might go.

Evan Rosell, who heads Project Wichita, said current development plans for the area downtown are piecemeal. He said the master plan should unify the different parties involved so they can move forward together more efficiently and quickly.

He also said a cohesive effort to develop the area will only improve the city.

“Riverfront opportunities are really important to young talent and that, at least in the Project Wichita context, was identified as one of the key, key priorities that our region needs to be focusing in on,” Rosell said.

The organizations involved plan to work together to decide how best to attract more people to the area for meetings, conventions and performances on the east side of the river in addition to the baseball games on the west bank.

“I would say within a year from now the plan will be vetted," said Michael Monteferrante, CEO of Envision and chairman of the board of the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce," that it would be suggested and announced and hopefully somewhere along the line accepted to begin.” 

Audrey Korte is an intern in the KMUW News Lab.