Many questions surround a statement made by Wichita mayor, Jeff Longwell after he said hundreds of new jobs will be coming to the empty Gander Mountain Building at WaterWalk.
At Tuesday’s (Mar. 19) more than four-hour-long city council meeting, Mayor Longwell said a new tenant would be moving in the Gander Mountain building and would bring 700 jobs to the area.
KSN reached out to the mayor and his office multiple times, but have yet to hear back for clarification on this.
As of Wednesday night (Mar. 20), the city told KSN a press release was being worked up.
Gander Mountain announced it was closing nearly two years ago.
When ground broke for the store, the city said development in the WaterWalk area would be vital for the success of Downtown.
But, the development has been far slower than past city officials anticipated, which is something present city leaders and residents are noticing.
“While Waterwalk maybe hasn’t developed into what we envisioned at first, there are things going on at Waterwalk,” said Cindy Claycomb, city council member for district 6. “The old Gander Mountain site being occupied, that will certainly be great.”
Claycomb also said she was pleasantly surprised by the announcement from the Mayor Longwell. She said any time jobs come to the city, it’s a good thing.
Those already working in WaterWalk said they’ve seen fewer people come to the area, but they’re remaining optimistic.
“That building has been empty for quite awhile,” said Alyssa Westbrook who works at IMS Barter, right across the street from the former Gander Mountain building. “We were excited to have it and unfortunately it didn’t work out, so it’s just kind of been utilized space, so we’re excited for a tenant to come whether it’s just one big tenant or multiple use kind of building. We’re just excited for the growth down here.”
No word yet on what business could be going in or what type of jobs it may bring.
Again, KSN reached out to Mayor Longwell for comment, but has not heard back yet.
KSN also reached out to the building’s owner, Jack Deboer. We have not heard from him yet, either.
Stay with KSN as this story develops.