Plans to turn nearly 15 acres of city-owned property in east Wichita into a public park, a new home for the Police Department's oldest bureau and — possibly — a new fire station will take a step forward Tuesday morning.
The city's planning department will present concepts and information to the City Council. No action will be taken.
In January 2006, the city spent $1.125 million to buy vacant land along East Central between Greenwich and K-96 with the idea of building a park and police substation.
In the past two years, the Wichita Fire Department has asked to have a new station included in that site, said Dave Barber, who is with the city's planning department and the project's manager.
Last year, City Manager Robert Layton asked the planning department to develop a plan in which all three elements — park, police and fire stations — would be integrated on the same site, Barber said. A committee was formed to go through information, take public input from east-side neighborhoods and develop the concepts that will be presented Tuesday.
"We've minimized the footprint for the police and fire stations so there would more land for the park," Barber said.
There is money in the proposed long-range budget for the park and police station but not for the fire station. That budget will be reviewed, tweaked and approved by the council within the next few months.
In that proposed long-range budget, construction on the police station would begin in 2013 and the park in 2014. Cost estimates put the police station at $2.4 million, the park at $1.3 million and the fire station at $2.3 million. Proposals presented Tuesday will include some with a fire station and some without.
In the city's proposed 2012-13 budget, building new police substations on the east and west sides was identified as a priority. There is also money in the proposed long-range budget for a west-side police station.
City officials are looking for a site for the new west station, Deputy Police Chief Terri Moses said, but nothing has been developed beyond that.
Plans for the east side are further along because the city already has the land at the corner of Central and Bristol. The Police Department's current east substation is at Edgemoor and Kellogg. It is too small and not strategically situated to serve the population growth in east Wichita, the proposal said.
The Fire Department also made a case for needing a new station to meet demands of the growing population on the east side, Barber said.
The new police substation would have at least 10,250 square feet and be able to accommodate a staff of 130. It would handle emergency 911 calls.
The existing substation would continue to operate as a community policing center, working on long-range issues, Moses said. It would handle 911 responses only as necessary, she added.
There has been significant community support for the new substation, the report said.
The same was true for a park. The nearest two parks to the area are miles away: Eastview Park, on 13th just west of Rock Road, and Edgemoor Park, near Ninth and Woodlawn.
Based on feedback from the community, the report developed the top five things people wanted to see in the park. In order of preference those are: natural trails/nature areas, leave site in its existing natural state, walking paths, picnic facilities and playground/dog stations.