WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – “How do we honor our past and move forward at the same time?” asks Evan Rosell with the greater Wichita Partnership. This is the question of debate for the Riverfront Legacy Master Plan.
Thursday, Nov. 14, five potential designs were released. They have been working on these designs for five months. Of those options, many include removing the old Central Wichita Library and Century II buildings.
“Even though we’re sort of removing something, an iconic thing from the city. We are giving something back,” said Amber Luther, Senior Associate for Populous design firm.
Each scenario includes a pedestrian bridge connecting downtown Wichita to the river and a new performing arts and convention center. The only option that renovates Century II and the library.
Members of the group, Save Century II believe this option is a win-win.
“It saves Century II. We have the most iconic single structure here in Wichita. We are able to put in the trophy performing arts theater that we all want, and it’s along the river, where it ought to be,” said Greg Kite, President of the Historical Preservation Alliance for Wichita and Sedgwick County.
It is also the cheapest scenario, costing $970 million.
“Being green and also being conservative on the financial end, I mean we’ve got what we have and it’s worked for many years,” said Architect Dean Bradley.
While some want to preserve history, it is not a priority for others.
“They don’t care about Century II. They don’t care about the library. They want a big green space in downtown connected to the river,” said Luther.
Evan Rosell with the Greater Wichita Partnership says the designs are flexible.
“It’s not just lock stocked do you like this one, this one, or this one? It’s what elements of all of these do you like the best and what things do you not like as much? And how do we take all that input from all the community to find the best concept forward?”
The board will be collecting community input about the designs over the next four weeks. You can share what you would like to see in the final plan by clicking here. They will be making their official presentation in January 2020.
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