Special Reports

Wichitans: Downtown needs to be easy to get around in

Residents at a community meeting Wednesday night on the downtown revitalization plan said they wanted the area to become a destination for Wichitans that was easy to get around and easy to get to.

The meeting at Atwater Neighborhood City Hall, 2755 E. 19th St., was the first of seven planned by the city to get feedback on the plan. City officials presented the plan to a dozen people at the meeting and discussed the plan's strengths and weaknesses.

Although the plan adds more transit downtown, residents wanted to see more public transportation options to bring people to the area from other parts of the city.

More public transportation provides people a more affordable way to get downtown and opens up the area for people without cars, said John Elmore, a Wichita resident. With more transit, people wouldn't have to worry about finding parking places and the process of getting to and from downtown would be much simpler, he said.

Others at the meeting wanted to see the river featured more in downtown redevelopment and wanted to make sure the area appeals to people of diverse ages and backgrounds.

David Fulton, a pastor at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, said he thinks the downtown redevelopment should include places that children, especially teenagers, can enjoy.

He also worried what would happen to homeless people and people who live in low-income housing in the area.

Scott Knebel, a principal planner with the city who led the meeting, said increased housing options the plan calls for would include a mix of units on different pricing levels.

Another meeting is planned for tonight at Evergreen Library, 2601 N. Arkansas. Knebel said the city is also scheduling presentations with groups that request them.

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