The future of Century II should be decided by Wichita voters, businessman Bill Warren thinks.
As part of his “Save Century II” campaign, Warren – known in Wichita for the movie theaters he built – is buying more radio advertisements for his “Save Century II” campaign in the coming days.
Warren bought similar advertisements last month.
The city of Wichita is currently looking at options for the future of the 48-year-old Century II, ranging from substantial renovation to demolition. City leaders are adamant no decision has been made – a frustrated Mayor Jeff Longwell said at a council meeting last week “there’s been no discussion to tear down Century II.”
Warren’s ad aims to reinforce that.
The ad, which will run on six Wichita radio stations, calls for a public referendum on the future of Century II.
“I think every citizen in Wichita has a vote,” Warren said last week. “This is a democracy. That’s not trying to take anything away from City Hall or the council – I’m not trying to be disrespectful, but I just think when you get to that kind of money, it ought to be a public vote.”
The city will soon receive a consultant’s report examining options for Century II’s future – the city has not officially released anything about Century II as of yet.
Projects in similar cities have cost anywhere from $250 to $500 million.
The ad begins: “Are Wichita’s city leaders about to get ahead of themselves ... again? While they dream of all the great ways to make Wichita a better place, they sometimes forget who pays to make those dreams come true.”
It references the $37 million Advanced Learning Library and the $40 million renovations to Lawrence-Dumont Stadium as major projects that were decided upon without a public referendum.
It ends: “It’s our city and it’s our money. Shouldn’t we have a say?”
Warren said he plans on producing two more radio spots and newspaper ads for the campaign.
He said he’s “not against the city spending money on improving the quality of life.”
“What I’m against is the city wasting money or not doing the homework, not doing a competent job when they take on a project,” Warren said. “I would hate to see this, but if the citizens of Wichita voted to tear down Century II and build a new arena, I would respect that, because that’s what a democracy is about. If I’m willing to let the voters have a say and vote on it, so should the city fathers.”