WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — From the “Air Capital of the World” to the “Opportunity Capital of the World,” Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple had a lot to say at his 2022 State of the City on Thursday.
Roughly 100 people gathered at Century II to hear what the mayor had to say.
Much of Whipple’s speech echoed sentiments from last year’s address, including some of the city’s biggest accomplishments:
- Invested more funding in homelessness and poverty prevention programs than in the past 10-15 years combined
- Invested more money into the police department and fire department than at any point in the city’s history
- For the first time in Wichita’s history, the city has $5 million in its “rainy day fund.”
- Current unemployment is 2.5%
With the new medical center welcoming students this fall, Whipple said it’s time to turn the “Air Capital of the World” into the “Opportunity Capital of the World.”
“We’re diversifying our economy, welcoming new companies seeing historic investments in city services; we’re actually the number one city in the country when it comes to advance manufacturing, so we got to keep our eyes on the change in the economy so that we can be prepared for these new opportunities,” said Whipple.
Whipple said that while the city accomplished much in 2021, he wants to see further improvements in what the city can do regarding the mental health and substance abuse coalition with the county and community-based policing.
“We’re really reinventing, really, what city services are, and part of that is addressing the problems we have at the core of those problems, including expansion of mental health funding, ensuring that we have the services that actually help the people who need help,” said Whipple.
The City also wanted to show off the diversity of Wichita during the address. Two groups performed during the ceremony, The Lao Buddhist Temple Folk Dancers and the Northeast Magnet High School Choir.