Westar investment questioned months after unsightly poles installed in northeast Wichita


Months after Westar put up large, unsightly power poles in northeast Wichita, the company is giving back to the area.

Students living in that area will now be eligible for scholarship funds, and nonprofits can take advantage of money to improve the neighborhoods.

Still, some are asking if that money is fair compensation.

“I don’t think it is enough,” said Wichita City council member Brandon Johnson.

The poles tower over Johnson’s district.

“I think those who hear about this will say, ‘Man that’s great, but I still have this pole to look at.'”

Johnson says he was on an advisory board that met with Westar to come up with a way to benefit the community where the poles are. His goal was much higher than what he says Westar announced.

“I again, I think the reaction from folks as they begin to hear about this today is going to be what else do we get?”

“This donation today is to help benefit the community as a whole and to acknowledge that we want to invest in the community, and that with this project, we could have and should have done better,” said Gina Penzig, Westar Energy media relations manager.

A million dollars of that $1.25 million that Westar is giving will benefit nonprofits in these zip codes: 67208, 67214, and 67219.

“The challenge becomes who benefits from the money? If somebody benefits from it, who is not directly affected by it, then to me, that is a lose,” said Pastor William Van.

Students have between April 15 and May 15 to apply for the scholarship grants.

Nonprofits have between April 15 and June 17 to apply.

Here is a link for more information.

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