WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – We are getting our first look at what Wichita’s riverfront could soon become.
Wednesday, hundreds showed up to get sneak peak and give their input.
People packed into the Wichita Boathouse to meet the group behind the plan that would connect the east and west banks of the river.
One of those people was the Wichita State rowing coach, who says this new vision has his attention.
“Rowing itself is a great lifetime sport,” said Calvin Cupp.
The Arkansas River is the lifeline for Cupp and his Wichita State rowing team. It’s their homebase.
“Having the Shocker Rowing Team there really is the first step in really activating the river,” he said.
A new ballpark, a private development, the possibility of a new performing arts center and a pedestrian bridge, prove a lot of changes are in the works near the Arkansas River. It’s all welcome news for Cupp.
“We want to see the river active every part of the day that it’s able to,” he said. “We want to see people up and down the sidewalk .”
Cupp is not the only one looking forward to river development. At the packed public meeting Wednesday night, community members weighed in on their hopes for the master plan.
“More green space and public space,” said Sharon Oneill, a Wichita resident. “I really would like to see them move the performing arts center, the Riverside Tennis Center.”
The coalition behind the meeting presented examples from cities with successful riverbank development.
“It’s very motivational because we do aspire to have spaces not unlike Oklahoma City for example, or Little Rock or Tulsa,” said Dave Carter, a community volunteer.
This gives hope to people like Cupp, who have been waiting years for change.
“We’re excited to see that potential realized and developed as we move forward in the next 20 years,” he said.
There will be more public meetings over the next few months.
The goal is to have a recommendation for a master plan in the next six to seven months.