Residents want change in south central Wichita

Local

A group of Wichitans is working to transform the area they call home.

Parts of the south central neighborhood, especially in the area of the south Broadway corridor have a reputation for crime. 

People who live there want that to change. 

Alan Keimig has seen it all outside his bike shop on south Broadway.

“Nighttime, I don’t know that I would be comfortable walking down the street,” said the shop owner. 

But, that hasn’t stopped him from working there for more than 40 years. 

“We’ve had a good reputation,” said Keiming. “We take care of people and I have a lot of repeat customers.”

Like Keimig, nearby resident Ret Tatch, has also dealt with crime in the area. 

“There’s been a lot of crimes I guess,” he said. “Sirens been going on a lot.”

It’s something he says can be fixed by adding more income into the area. 

“Shops around here have been closing down rather than more businesses coming in,” said Tatch. “I see more people going out.”

Some of Tatch’s neighbors say fixing up existing buildings could make a big difference.  

“Fix up unpainted houses so it gives a nice look for the area and I feel like there would be less crime if people took care of their houses,” said Casondra Price, a Wichita resident.

Adam Barlow-Thompson has lived in south central Wichita for more than four years now. 

“I’m overwhelmed by how awesome my neighbors are,” said Barlow-Thompson. “In a neighborhood, when a block has committed to knowing each other, they’re going to take care of each other, and it’s going to feel safer on your block.”

That sense of community is something Keimig feels at his shop every day. 

“We take care of the people that are along here,” he said. “I think they watch out for us too.”

The neighborhood council held a meeting Tuesday night to discuss a new plan to improve the neighborhood’s reputation. 

One of the things they want to focus on are the positive people, events and places found in the area, places like the Tom Sawyer Bicycle Shop.   

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