Mayoral candidates consider future of downtown Wichita

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

Mayoral Candidates, Jeff Longwell and Brandon Whipple, faced off in the KAKE Studios Tuesday night. 

The two offered differing views on their vision for Wichita, but they both agree that the future of the river is crucial for the entire city. 

"For us to really propel the momentum of downtown Wichita, we should be taking advantage of one of our top assets and that is our river," said Whipple.

"We have a new triple a baseball stadium, a new river village that's springing up," said Longwell. 

Both candidates made clear their intentions are to listen to what the public wants. 

"Maybe do something more with the river, I know at one point in time there was talk of a river walk," said Wichita resident, Pam Gray. 

Both candidates want to see more development along the river, but what that will look like long-term is still up in the air.

Gray visits the Keeper of the Plains often. She says more than anything, she wants to see more locally owned businesses. 

'Little boutiques, places to eat, tattoo parlors."

Others say downtown is focused around the needs of younger people and want diversity in the area.

"I really would like to see people that have older kids or more middle aged activities, art that type of thing," said Shauna Yelverton, who works downtown.

Another decision looming over the city is the future of Century II. While Whipple did not mention the city's performing arts center, Longwell says re-purposing the building is still a viable option.

"I guess there's talk of making century two a landmark, I'd love to see that happen...It's just that weird round building we had, kind of a hamburger shaped building. It's been here forever, it'd be a shame to tear it down," said Gray,

Write-in candidate, Lyndy Wells, says he's also looking forward to new development along the river.

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