Another push to save Century II but will it help?

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – In an effort to help save Century II, a local group is petitioning to gain more than 5,000 signatures in hopes of moving the process one step forward.

From buttons to yard signs and even t-shirts, Century II supporters are now pushing harder to save one of the city’s icons.

“This is our chance to make a stand,” said Celeste Racette, Save Century II.

On Monday (Jan. 13), supporters will petition outside of city hall in efforts of getting more than 5,000 registered voters to sign a petition to save the building.

“If citizens get a petition together and want to vote on this, then I think it’s appropriate to have a vote,” said Wichita City Council member James Clendenin.

Both city leaders and even members of the Riverfront Legacy Committee said advocacy is necessary in this case, but some of the future plans feature a path without Century II.

“We have clear data that shows we think we are losing $40 million at least in economic impact by not having a modern convention center,” said John Rolph, Greater Wichita Partnership.

Building a new performing arts and convention center is a cheaper route according to experts, but Century II supports said nothing compares to the rich history and architecture that’s already there.

“We love this building, we understand what it symbolizes, and we don’t want to see it torn down without having a say,” said Racette.

If the group succeeds in getting the signatures in the next six months, the item then goes to city and county officials for consideration about the Sedgwick County Election Commission verifies the signatures. Then, it is possible that the item could go on a future ballot.

“A vote doesn’t necessarily compel us to do anything,” said Clendenin. “But, what it does is it shows us that the majority of citizens do or don’t want to keep Century II. If we weren’t to listen to that, it’d be insane.”

Members of Save Century II are also pushing forward with a speedy effort to get Century II on the National Register of Historic Places. While that label would slow down the process of getting rid of the building, it may not entirely prevent it.

Petitioners will gather outside of the city hall on Monday at noon to petition.

On Tuesday (Jan. 14) night, the Riverfront Legacy Committee will reveal economic data and a better timeline of the project at Newman University.

For more information about the Riverfront Legacy Master Plan or to see the options for the area near Century II in downtown Wichita, click here.

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