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City Plan Calls For Significant Population Growth In Wichita


City officials are working on a long-term investment plan for Wichita with a goal of adding more than 100,000 new residents over the next 20 years. KMUW’s Sean Sandefur reports…

City officials are calling it a “framework for the future.” The Community Investments Plan includes Sedgwick County and is meant to provide guidance when deciding how to spend money in the future. It’s being developed by the Wichita-Sedgwick County Planning Department and includes sizable population growth.

John Schlegel is director of planning for the city. He says if Wichita wants to support more people over next 20 years, the job market has to improve significantly.

“We would need over 51,000 new jobs in that same time period. That’s 2,600 jobs per year,” he says. “That’s well above what we’re producing now.”

Population growth in Wichita has averaged about .83 percent annually over the last decade, according to Wichita-Sedgwick County Planning. Over the next 20 years, that rate would only add about 64,000 residents.

Outlined in the Community Investments Plan, is a goal of an annual growth rate of 1.25 percent. From now until 2035, that rate would add 101,458 residents and 51,271 jobs in Wichita.

At a meeting on Tuesday morning, Mayor Jeff Longwell expressed concern over the possibility of financial consequences, such as a loss in grant money, if the city didn’t meet the goal of a 1.25 percent growth rate.

According to Schlegel, the city would not lose out on grants by not meeting the growth goals outlined in the Community Investments Plan.

The plan calls for preserving lower taxes and diversifying the local economy through entrepreneurship.

It also calls for creating a new funding mechanism for maintaining and building new infrastructure.

The city is organizing public meetings to review the Community Investments Plan before it is formally adopted.

  • May 4 – CityArts, 334 N. Mead
  • May 11 – WSU Metroplex, Room 138, 5015 E. 29th St. North
  • May 18 – Sedgwick County Extension Office, Sunflower Room, 7001 W. 21st St.