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Wichita's Temporary Downtown Pop-Up Park Closes After Five Years

Nadya Faulx
The Pop-Up Park on Monday, the day before it was scheduled to close for good.

After five years, the pop-up park in downtown Wichita has closed for good.

The park near Douglas and Market, funded in part by a Knight Foundation grant, was always meant to be temporary.

Still, when news filtered out last month that it was closing, "it did catch us off guard," said Adam Bussey, vice president of the Wichita Food Truck Coalition and the owner of Hot 2 Trot Gourmet Hot Dogs.

The park’s closure means Bussey and other food truck operators will have to find new places to set up shop.

"Change is not always comfortable," he said, "but we’re looking forward to setting up more places and actually having more trucks downtown."

Downtown Wichita says in a release announcing the Pop-Up Park’s closure that other spaces nearby, including the under-construction Chester Lewis Park and the recently remodeled Naftzger Park, "are now serving a similar purpose to the original intent of the Pop-Up Park."

Bussey said the 24-member food truck coalition has been in talks with the city and parks department to begin using Naftzger as a new food truck hub. But there’s no timeline for when trucks might be able to begin serving there.

"There’s plenty of room for growth at Naftzger Park," Bussey said. "There’s lots of parking spots along there, and lots of hookups."

Developers haven’t decided yet what will replace the Pop-Up Park. Downtown Wichita says the same partners that originally built the park "will work with the community to reimagine the space, with the primary goal of challenging ways to think about and use public space."

Updates will be posted on the park’s Facebook page.

Nadya Faulx is KMUW's Digital News Editor and Reporter, which means she splits her time between working on-air and working online, managing news on KMUW.org, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. She joined KMUW in 2015 after working for a newspaper in western North Dakota. Before that she was a diversity intern at NPR in Washington, D.C.