Politics & Government

What should the city do with Naftzger Park? Here’s your chance to be heard.

Naftzger Park with its gazebo, pond and waterfall is currently a popular spot for photos and for the homeless.
Naftzger Park with its gazebo, pond and waterfall is currently a popular spot for photos and for the homeless. The Wichita Eagle

Residents will be invited to a pair of meetings this week to give their input on a redesign for Naftzger Park downtown.

The city is planning to spend about $1.5 million to rebuild the park before the NCAA basketball tournament comes to the city in March 2018. The City Council recently expanded a special taxing district downtown to raise the money to pay for it.

The goals are to create a large open space that can be used for pregame activities in connection with the nearby Intrust Bank Arena, and to discourage homeless people from using the park as a daily gathering space.

The plans are being done in conjunction with a developer’s effort to build upscale apartments in the former Spaghetti Warehouse building between Naftzger Park and the arena.

The public sessions are scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. Thursday and 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Both meetings will be held at the offices of Downtown Wichita, formerly the Wichita Downtown Development Corp., 507 E. Douglas.

Thursday’s session will start with a presentation by SWA Balsley Landscape Architects, the company the City Council hired last week to redesign the park. The presentation will be followed by an open house meeting where residents can share their ideas for the park and features and programs they’d like to see there.

Friday’s session will continue the discussion with another open house.

Dion Lefler: 316-268-6527, @DionKansas

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