Riverfront Legacy Masterplan Urban Explorations


The Riverfront Legacy Masterplan group is offering tours of the area they're planning on developing Wednesday in downtown Wichita so people can imagine what they want to see there.

A large crowd gathered at Century II for the first two urban explorations Tuesday evening. They took a walk down the east bank of the Arkansas River to give ideas on what they want the area to look like when they start developing it.

"I see a lot of good riverfront property, a lot of opportunity," said Jake Henderson, a resident that attended the tour.

The plans are still in the works, but officials said they are looking to use the plans to attract more tourists to downtown Wichita.

"It's about when I come here with my family of five and we buy tickets are we going out to dinner, are we walking along the water afterward," said Amber Luther, an associate architect for the company hired to develop the area.

A big issue that's been the talk of the town is what to do with Century II. Renovating the 50-year-old building will cost millions of dollars. In a report from KMUW, a Wichita radio news station, they said the city manager Bob Layton discussed engineering studies that say it's just too costly to save the performing arts center inside.Asbestos and problems with the elevators are just some of the problems named that are an issue inside.

"The best scenario is going to be to build a new building on a slightly different site," said Angela Cassette, with Music Theater Wichita.

Cassette said she is in favor of a new building for the performing arts center. However, Celeste Racette is a part of a group called Save Century II that wants to do whatever they can to preserve the building.

"You can easily renovate and re purpose Century II," Racette said.

The group touring the area were citizens that said they were hopeful for one thing. Bringing more people, using it's scenery and nature, downtown to enjoy the place that they call home.

"Obviously it's going to be a big deal is how much money and why are we spending the money," Jake Henderson said. "If it's a good enough reason, if the vision is good enough, I think the people of the city could get on board with it."

The next two urban explorations are scheduled for 7:30 a.m. and noon on Wednesday Sept. 24.

Check out these photos from across KAKEland snapped by our viewers, staff and local officials. Do you have pictures to share with us? Email them to news@kake.com.