Century II

LaRissa Lawrie / KMUW/File photo

A petition with more than 17,000 signatures calling for a binding election on the future of Century II and other city-owned buildings has been ruled invalid.

Deborah Shaar / KMUW

Wichitans will get a say in the future of Century II — it just won’t be the final say.

The City Council approved a policy Tuesday to hold an advisory election before possibly demolishing either the historic domed building or the neighboring former central library.

A plan for the redevelopment of the downtown riverfront recommends tearing down both. Council member Brandon Johnson represents the city on the Riverfront Legacy Master Plan coalition, and he says it was the intent to hold a public vote on the future of the two buildings.

There’s still a chance Century II will remain a part of Wichita’s skyline — just not as a performing arts or convention center.

Deborah Shaar / KMUW

Organizers with the group “Save Century II” support a city of Wichita recommendation to build a new performing arts center. They also say there is an opportunity to preserve the blue-domed round building.

Greg Kite with the Historic Preservation Alliance and community arts supporter Celeste Racette started the campaign to bring awareness of the historical value of Century II, and to keep the process of determining the future of Century II open to the public.

Deborah Shaar / KMUW

In a few months, the latest plan for developing downtown Wichita’s riverfront area will be released.

The details and recommendations are supposed to help guide the city to a final decision about the Century II complex. One aspect has already been decided: The city of Wichita has determined that it can’t transform the 50-year-old building into a modern performing arts venue.

Hugh Mason / Wikimedia Commons

The second round of community engagement events for the Riverfront Legacy Master Plan process is next week.

The Urban Explorations events on Sept. 24-25 provide a chance for Wichitans to take part in a walking tour along the riverfront and learn about some of the proposed plans and ideas the design committee is discussing. A question-and-comment session will follow each tour.

Susie Santo is president of Visit Wichita and a member of the planning committee. She says community interaction and feedback is essential to help the plan move in the direction that Wichita wants. 

Deborah Shaar / KMUW/File photo

This story was updated on Thursday, May 16

A change in leadership is coming to Wichita’s arts and cultural services division.

Longtime manager John D’Angelo resigned April 26. City officials say he left to take a similar job in Oxnard, California, but that might not have happened. This week, Oxnard announced layoffs in arts and culture, and proposed closing its performing arts center and a museum, according to the Ventura County Star.

Deborah Shaar / KMUW

A famous Wurlitzer pipe organ has been based at Wichita’s Century II for about as long as the performing arts center has been open. With Century II’s future in question, the organ’s caretakers are working to increase public and city support so the Wurlitzer can remain in Wichita. 

KMUW

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

LaRissa Lawrie / KMUW/File photo

A city-appointed committee is recommending that Wichita build a new performing arts facility instead of renovating Century II.

The Century II Citizens Advisory Committee spent the past year talking to experts, reviewing research and getting input from the public. The committee presented its findings and recommendations to Wichita city leaders Tuesday.

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