West Side Building Boom Thwarts Bad Economy

By: Jennifer Bocchieri Email
By: Jennifer Bocchieri Email

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Friday, June 5, 2009

The economy may be down but you would never know it by the look of West Wichita. New business is booming.

Just a few years ago, most areas on Maize Road North of 21st Street was empty land. In this part of town the landscape is now definitely changing.

"It's grown a lot. When we moved out here there was hardly anything out here on Maize Road," said West Side Resident Kerri Dixson.

Over the past year, several new stores have set up shop. In just the past six months, developers have spent more than $4.5 million building new storefronts.

"West Wichita has kind of a building phenomena going on right now that is contradictory to what's happening around the country. There's some considerable investment taking place," said City Council Member Jeff Longwell.

A $20 million investment is set to happen at Kellogg and Maize. A family fun and bowling center will soon go up called Bowlaggio. A hotel is later planned for the site. Another hotel is set to go in up at 37th street North and Maize Road. In fact, 37th is now getting widened to six lanes just to handle all the growth.

So why is there so much growth going on? Longwell says so many people moved out here because of great schools that now the amenities are following and, "All the ingredients are in place to just continue that rapid expansion."

A big plus side to all this development is it's also helping control the flooding problems on the Northwest side. Three new dry detention ponds have been put in to help control extra rainwater.

Now there's flood relief on top of new shopping and dining opportunities.

"I think it's great. It helps that we're not going all the way over to the East side anymore," said West Side Resident Sarah Etheridge.

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