As Wichita evolves, we turn toward long-range planning work to guide our decisions and give us a road map for how our city will look in five, 10, even 20 years.
The Community Investments Plan was adopted in 2015 as the development framework for the future for Wichita and Sedgwick County. It provides a 20-year vision for the future, and serves as a guide and compass for our development. Robust community engagement helped align the plan to the goals and priorities of the community. The importance of community participation in planning for the future of our community cannot be overstated.
A major goal of the plan was the development of a Wichita Urban Infill Strategy. Infill is the process of taking spaces that are vacant or underutilized, and transforming them into thriving parts of the city again. We cannot grow unless we maintain what we already have, and there are enormous financial benefits to fully utilizing our infrastructure and urban fabric.
The Infill strategy addresses downtown and the Established Central Area, focusing on opportunities for development, reducing government red tape, improving infrastructure, and increasing housing accessibility and affordability. Development of this strategy is now under way.
The Wichita Urban Infill Strategy will engage the community in a nine-month process to identify the goals and priorities of the neighborhoods in Wichita’s central area. Keep your eye out for ways to get involved in this important process, including the Visioning Summit on March 6, Walkability Summit on April 16, and Development Summit on June 12.
The participation of our fellow citizens in the work we do is absolutely essential to our process. Wichita belongs to all of us, and we all have a voice in how it is shaped.
Some of the most important planning takes place at the neighborhood level. An example of this is the Delano Neighborhood Plan, which is currently being updated to address exciting new opportunities in the historic Delano district. These opportunities include the future of Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, a new multi-use path, and continued riverfront development.
The Delano Plan, and others like it, incorporate a community vision for the next 15 years established by members of the neighborhood. Area plans help shape the development, character, economy, and composition of a neighborhood on a finer-grained and more personalized scale. These plans are critical in helping elected officials and neighborhood leaders steer their community in the right direction.
Planning is never finished. When a plan is adopted, it means that it’s time to get busy with the job of implementing it. As we move forward, community input — your input — will remain crucial as we work to fulfill Wichita’s vast and vibrant potential.
Kyle Kobe is associate planner for the Wichita-Sedgwick County Metropolitan Area Planning Department.