WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Twenty-five years, that’s how long Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell has served in local politics. In a few short short days, his time in office will come to an end.
He considers the city’s economic growth as his biggest accomplishment during his tenure.
“We had 100 of thousands of square feet of downtown buildings that were vacant. That’s not the case anymore,” he said.
In 2015, Longwell took on the role of mayor for his hometown. Over the years, he has seen the city grow, but he says his favorite part was downtown.
“It’s not just for events. There are people living down here, there are people that are coming and going, and walking the streets. And seeing just a real energy that hasn’t been around for a long time.”
Of course with growth, comes growing pains. Mayor Longwell says his biggest challenge in office was finances.
“Trying to find revenue sources to build the kind of things because we hear from both sides, ‘oh there is nothing to do in Wichita’ and ‘oh you’re wasting our money on art, libraries, and ball diamonds.’ So balancing that,” he said.
His advice for the Air Capital’s future?
“Certainly continue to focus on quality of life and ensuring we are providing opportunities for every sector of the city,” he said.
After the quarter-century in local government, Mayor Longwell is ending his term with a gracious outlook.
“I’m just very thankful I received the opportunity to put my hand-print on the city I thoroughly love, and hopefully, everyone will agree we are moving in the right direction,” said Longwell.
While he is thankful for his time serving, Longwell says he is also relieved for some upcoming free time.
Longwell’s final day in office is Jan. 13. He will be replaced by mayor-elect Brandon Whipple. The entire community is invited to the swearing-in ceremony on Monday, Jan. 13 at 6 p.m. at Wichita City Hall. The ceremony will also celebrate Mayor Jeff Longwell’s service.
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