WICHITA _ The Wichita City Council today added its official stamp of approval to the $600 million Project Downtown, the master plan for revitalizing downtown Wichita over the next 15 to 20 years.
By a unanimous vote, the council voted to adopt the plan. Last month, the Wichita-Sedgwick County Metropolitan Planning Commission voted unanimously to adopt the plan.
According to the plan put together by Boston-based Goody Clancy, there is a market potential of $500 million coming from private investors. The remaining $100,000 is from public money for such infrastructure items as parking garages, parks and street landscaping.
But several council members noted that the plan doesn't require that the city spend that $100,000.
"We will evaluate as we go forward," said council member Jeff Longwell.
The master plan targets the Douglas corridor, and specifically Union Station, as the first stop for retail and entertainment development.
Goody Clancy was hired for $500,000 to develop the plan over the last year. The city kicked in $225,000 of that fee with the rest split between the Wichita Downtown Development Corporation and the private sector. In December 2008, the City Council unanimously agreed to initiate a downtown master plan.
The plan's blueprint is built on a business plan for market-based redevelopment, including strict guidelines for public investments downtown to move the City Council away from its longtime penchant of handing out money to private developers.
It's unclear where the city will get all the money to fund the landscaping, parks, street improvements and parking garages over the next decade. City officials have applied for a $24.5 million federal grant.
Others endorsing the plan since early November include the Wichita Area Association of Realtors, the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, Go Wichita, Visioneering Wichita, the Board of Park Commissioners, Wichita Transit Advisory Board, Wichita Downtown Development Corp. and Young Professionals of Wichita.