Wednesday was a big day for turning dirt downtown. They turned ceremonial dirt with shovels and the mayor hopped onto a truck to unload the first dirt to be excavated.
“It’s going to happen very quickly ,and you’re going to see Wichita transform itself,” said Mayor Jeff Longwell. “But as we do this process it’s going to allow us to reach out to the community and continue to gather input from the community.”
The mayor says it will get done in the compressed time to open in April of 2020.
Also this week, city council member Brandon Johnson took to social media to ask if the stadium design lacked a so-called “wow” factor.
Johnson said several on the design board asked for a more modern look, so he asked on Twitter for public feedback.
“Well the overall look means it’s a welcome to Wichita for those coming in to enjoy a game here,” said Johnson at the groundbreaking. “Right now, on the design, they’re still taking feedback. On social media I’ve kind of asked questions as well. The design’s not done.”
Shannon Bohm is President with Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey, as part of the design team. Bohm says there will still be an updated look taken to the design council.
“We still are working on the exterior and the interior bowl. Our plan is to continue with that, and hopefully, within four or five weeks, we will have some progress that we will work with the city and show them some diagrams.”
The groundbreaking is the official signal to begin excavation and construction. Bohm says they are working on the foundation footings and work underground on drains and water lines. She also says they continue to work on the overall look and the public will get a look at the plans.
The mayor says it will be exciting to have public feedback on the new look.
Johnson hopes the design will be something that screams, Wichita.
“I think there should be some elements of Delano, but what you really want is something Iconic to Wichita. We’ve to that across the street. Century II is always a hot topic, but that’s Iconic to Wichita,” said Johnson. “And as we are constructing something new, it should be something that you know is Wichita when you see it.”
Mayor Longwell said he is excited to see this process and maintains the look will be something that will be a regional draw.
“It’s going to be so much more than baseball,” said Mayor Longwell of the stadium and events center.”You can bring a sack lunch and enjoy the spaces and the facility. It’s for the entire community.”
The retail development on the north end of the facility is still under development and is expected to include shops, restaurants and other amenities.