Ever heard people bemoan the fact that Wichita doesn’t have exciting things like mountains or beaches?
Well, for the next few months, that second point is moot.
Over the weekend, Downtown Wichita unveiled its latest pop-up project – a makeshift “beach” in the ICT Pop-Up Urban Park, 121 E. Douglas.
About a third of the park is now covered in sand, complete with beach chairs and umbrellas.
It was one of those cases where a joke was told so many times that it actually became a plan, said Jason Gregory, executive vice president of Downtown Wichita.
“We were joking and said, ‘Why don’t we make a beach?’ ” Gregory said. “We’ve seen precedent in other cities where they’ve done something similar, and it’s been really successful.”
The makeshift sandbox will be at the park tentatively through September, Gregory said.
There is still ample room to walk about for those who want to avoid getting sand in their shoes.
So far, feedback from the project has been positive, Gregory said.
“I think it’s just the whole idea that somebody could take their shoes off and it simulates, kind of, a beach,” he said. “Obviously the water’s not there, but at the launch party, there were children down there digging and building castles. I know if you gave my kids a shovel and a big pile of sand, they’d be pretty much entertained for an entire weekend.”
Gregory said crews will “proactively monitor” the sand to ensure it doesn’t become dirty.
“Obviously, we don’t know if that will become a problem,” he said. “I don’t see a lot of stray cats running around downtown, but I suppose that’s always a possibility.”
The project was funded by the Knight Foundation Fund at the Wichita Community Foundation.