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Last design suggestion presented for Wichita Riverfront

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An alliance of local associations has released its last proposal for the redevelopment of the east bank of the Arkansas River in downtown Wichita.

The design requires a new performing arts facility and a new convention center, alongside 12 acres of green space with a new park along the riverfront, and a pedestrian bridge to associate the territory to the new baseball stadium on the west bank of the river. The different projects under the Riverfront Legacy Master Plan would be phased in over a 10 to 15-year time span.

The arrangement requires the demolition of the previous downtown library and the demolition of the Century II convention center. The library would be obliterated in the initial three to five years of the project, while Century II would be annihilated in five to ten years as a new convention center and public plaza are built.

It’s estimated the arrangement would take over $1 billion to develop with investments from public, private and philanthropic sources.

Shelly Pritchard, president and CEO of the Wichita Community Foundation, said the suggestions depend on guiding principles gave by the Riverfront Legacy alliance, input from the community and market research and studies.

The alliance will be working with the Wichita city council, the Sedgwick County Commission and resident warning boards as the arrangement push ahead. The alliance incorporates Downtown Wichita, the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce, The Wichita Community Foundation, the Visit Wichita show and the guest’s bureau, and the Greater Wichita Partnership.

A residents group called Save Century II has begun circulating petitions requiring a vote of the individuals on the future of the previous library and the Century II convention center buildings. The group wants to get the issue on the November election ballot.

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