Downtown Wichita

Naftzger Park event management agreement still ambiguous

Naftzger Park event management agreement still ambiguous

This week the Wichita City Council will update an agreement from last year, but it appears important issues were not addressed. Last February the City of Wichita approved an agreement with a local business to manage events at Naftzger Park. With the pandemic upending public events, the business -- Wave Old Town, LLC -- was unable to program any events. Therefore, the city wants to add additional time to the agreement. During the delay, the city could have addressed problems with the original agreement. Some problems concern the bidding process. My concern was the uncertainty in the profit-sharing agreement, which…
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Downtown Wichita population is up

Downtown Wichita population is up

New Census Bureau data shows the downtown Wichita population growing in 2019. Data released today by the United States Census Bureau shows the estimated population for zip code 67202 in 2019 was 1,751, an increase of 80 from the prior year. Zip code 67202 is greater downtown Wichita, from the Arkansas River east to Washington, and Kellogg north to Central, roughly. The source of this data is U.S. Census Bureau, 2015-2019 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. This is not the Bureau's estimate of the population in 2019. This is because for areas of population less than 65,000, the Bureau does…
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Downtown Wichita attraction attendance

Downtown Wichita attraction attendance

Attendance at downtown Wichita attractions presented in an interactive visualization. The Source of data is Visit Wichita Convention & Visitors Bureau as presented in State of Downtown Reports published by DowntownWichita.org. Click here to access the visualization.
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Naftzger Park on the web: Do we care?

Naftzger Park on the web: Do we care?

A badly outdated portion of Wichita's website makes me wonder: Does anyone care? In the Naftzger Park Facebook group that I co-administer, someone recently posted this: Hi! I'm [not] new to Wichita and a friend told me about a quaint and lovely Victorian style park set in the downtown area. I love little parks like these as they're such an endearing surprise in the midst of old industrial buildings and warehouses. After seeing the pictures on your website, I can tell my friend understated the beauty of the park. I can't wait to visit! One problem though, I can't find…
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At Naftzger Park: ‘Sunflower Exclusive’

At Naftzger Park: ‘Sunflower Exclusive’

Dr. Chinyere Grace Okafor, poet, playwright and fiction writer, "is a Professor of English and Women's Studies, Director of the Center for Women’s Studies and Chair of the Department of Women’s Studies and Religion, Wichita State University." She has contributed a poem that is featured in the redesigned Naftzger Park in downtown Wichita. Chase Billingham visited the park and transcribed the poem. He reports: "This is the poem that has been carved into stone pavers in the new Naftzger Park. The poem appears twice in the park. It appears in its entirety in one large slab near Douglas Avenue. And…
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Wichita taxing district to expand

Wichita taxing district to expand

The City of Wichita plans to expand a special tax district. Next week the Wichita City Council will consider expanding an existing CID, or Community Improvement District, in the Delano neighborhood near downtown Wichita. A map provided by the city is nearby. Community Improvement Districts are a mechanism whereby extra sales tax is collected within a district. For this CID, the city asks to collect an extra two cents per dollar, which is the maximum allowed in Kansas. CIDs are distinguished from STAR bonds, in which incremental sales tax revenue in a district is captured and handled differently from the…
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Naftzger Park event management agreement ambiguous

Naftzger Park event management agreement ambiguous

The profit-sharing agreement for Naftzger Park event management contains ambiguity that could lead to disputes. Today the Wichita City Council approved an agreement with Wave Old Town LLC for event management in Naftzger Park in downtown Wichita. The agreement was approved unanimously. While there was controversy over the awarding of the contract (Wichita Eagle reporting is here), others have noticed that the contract is imprecise in a way that could lead to problems. The city and Wave will share profits and losses based on a schedule in the management agreement contained in the agenda packet for today's meeting, Item V-2.…
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Business improvement district on tap in Wichita

Business improvement district on tap in Wichita

The Douglas Design District seeks to transform from a voluntary business organization to a tax-funded branch of government. Tomorrow the Wichita City Council will consider forming a business improvement district (BID) in east-central Wichita. Previously, city documents offered some explanation regarding the district: [1. City of Wichita. Agenda for August 21, 2018, Item IV-1. Available at http://www.wichita.gov/Council/Agendas/08-21-2018%20City%20Council%20Agenda%20Packet.pdf.] First, there already exists a voluntary organization: "The Douglas Design District (DDD) is a voluntary organization of over 300 local businesses located near Douglas Avenue between Washington Avenue and Oliver Avenue. In 2017, the DDD established a five-year strategic plan to become a…
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It may become more expensive in Wichita

It may become more expensive in Wichita

The City of Wichita plans to create a large district where extra sales tax will be charged. At next Tuesday's Wichita City Council meeting, the council will consider imposing additional taxes in downtown Wichita and Delano. The new tax district includes the new baseball park and large amounts of surrounding land, some of the land in Waterwalk east of the Arkansas River, and land as far north as First and Waco. The new tax is known as a Community Improvement District, or CID. In these districts, merchants charge additional sales tax which is used to benefit the owners of property…
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Downtown Wichita population is up

Downtown Wichita population is up

New Census Bureau data shows the population growing in downtown Wichita. Data released today by the United States Census Bureau shows the estimated population for zip code 67202 in 2018 was 1,671, an increase of 73 from the prior year. Zip code 67202 is greater downtown Wichita, from the Arkansas River east to Washington, and Kellogg north to Central, roughly. The source of this data is U.S. Census Bureau, 2014-2018 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. This means the data is not the Bureau's estimate of the population in 2018. For areas of population less than 65,000, the Bureau does not…
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Downtown Wichita jobs rise

Downtown Wichita jobs rise

The number of jobs in downtown Wichita rose sharply in 2017. New data from United States Census Bureau shows the number of workers in downtown Wichita rose sharply in 2017, while the number of business firms fell slightly. Zip code tabulation area 67202. Click for larger.From 2016 to 2017, the number of workers in zip code 67202 rose from 13,618 to 14,588, an increase of 970 jobs, or 7.1 percent. (Zip code 67202 is greater downtown Wichita, from the Arkansas River east to Washington, and Kellogg north to Central, roughly.) The number of business firms fell from 810 to 802.…
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From Pachyderm: Save Century II

From Pachyderm: Save Century II

From the Wichita Pachyderm Club: Speakers promoting the saving of the Century II Convention and Performing Arts Center in downtown Wichita. Speakers were, in order of first appearance, Greg Kite, Dean Bradley, and Celeste Bogart Racette. This video was recorded on November 1, 2019. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. There is other material on this topic: On Facebook: Save Century II The website Save Century II Video: Save Century II public meeting from October 22, 2019
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From Pachyderm: Save Century II

From Pachyderm: Save Century II

From the Wichita Pachyderm Club: Speakers promoting the saving of the Century II convention and performing arts center in downtown Wichita. Speakers were, in order of first appearance, Greg Kite, Dean Bradley, and Celeste Bogart Racette. This audio presentation or podcast was recorded on November 1, 2019. There is other material on this topic: On Facebook: Save Century II The website Save Century II Video: Save Century II public meeting from October 22, 2019
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Checking a Jeff Longwell for Mayor political ad

Checking a Jeff Longwell for Mayor political ad

An ad from the Jeff Longwell for Mayor Committee contains a false claim. An advertisement advocating the re-election of Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell contains a claim about economic development that is false. The ad appears in the October 20, 2019 print edition of the Wichita Eagle. Under the heading "Let's Set the Record Straight," we find this item: "Multiple large scale business development projects like the Cargill Downtown Headquarters which created 850+ jobs." It's the use of the word "create" that is false. It's wrong because Cargill's headquarters was located in downtown Wichita at the time it announced it would…
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In Wichita, more tax increment financing

In Wichita, more tax increment financing

The Wichita city council will consider expanding an existing TIF, or tax increment financing district. Tomorrow the Wichita City Council will consider expanding the boundaries of an existing tax increment financing district in downtown Wichita. [1. City of Wichita City Council Agenda for October 8, 2019. Agenda Item No. V-1, Public Hearings Considering an Expansion of the Union Station Tax Increment Financing District and Considering a Development Agreement for the Union Station Project Area 3 Plan (District I)] According to city documents for this agenda item, Expanding the District would allow the Developer to capture the additional increment generated by…
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What the Block 1 amendment says about downtown Wichita

What the Block 1 amendment says about downtown Wichita

The amending of a retail lease tells us a lot about the economics of downtown Wichita. This week the Wichita City Council amended a lease for some retail space at 360 East William in downtown Wichita. This is the retail space on the ground floor of the Block 1 parking garage at the northwest corner of Topeka and William. Block One retail space sits half empty. Click for larger.The first lease, passed by the council in 2011, refers to "ground level of the Parking Structure retail space containing approximately 8,400 square feet of surface floor area." [1. Wichita City Council…
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Contribute to a campaign, get (nearly) free rent

Contribute to a campaign, get (nearly) free rent

Citizens may not have noticed that a campaign contributor to Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell received a large benefit from the city this week. This Tuesday the Wichita City Council voted to amend an existing lease. In a nutshell, the city council voted to lease to a tenant 8,600 square feet of retail space for $1.00 per year. Not $1.00 per square foot per year, but $1.00 per year for all 8,600 square feet. That's for the first four years of the lease. Computed as rent per square foot, which is the common way to quote rent for commercial space, the…
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Downtown Wichita population

Downtown Wichita population

Wichita economic development officials use a convoluted method of estimating the population of downtown Wichita, producing a number much higher than Census Bureau estimates. How many people live in downtown Wichita? The answer, according to Downtown Wichita, is 2,749. This value comes from the 2019 State of Downtown Report, published by Downtown Wichita. [2. Downtown Wichita. 2019 State of Downtown Report. Available at https://downtownwichita.org/development/state-of-downtown.] It is for zip code 67202, which is commonly recognized as greater downtown Wichita. While this report highlights the number of people living in downtown Wichita, it no longer reports the number of people working in…
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Downtown Wichita jobs decline

Downtown Wichita jobs decline

Despite heavy promotion and investment in downtown Wichita, the number of jobs continues to decline. The United States Census Bureau has a program known as LEHD Origin-Destination Employment Statistics, or LODES. According to the Bureau, “The LEHD program produces new, cost effective, public-use information combining federal, state and Census Bureau data on employers and employees under the Local Employment Dynamics (LED) Partnership. State and local authorities increasingly need detailed local information about their economies to make informed decisions. The LED Partnership works to fill critical data gaps and provide indicators needed by state and local authorities." Data is available by…
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