Project Downtown, the 20-year, community-driven master plan for revitalizing Wichita’s core area, has been awarded the Pioneer Award by the Kansas Chapter of the American Planning Association, City of Wichita officials announced on Wednesday.
The Pioneer Award recognizes creativity and innovation in using planning to meet a community need or solve a public problem. The award ceremony is scheduled for the Kansas Planning Conference at noon on Thursday, Oct. 13 in Topeka.
Project Downtown is a public-private partnership of the City of Wichita, the Wichita Downtown Development Corp. and Visioneering Wichita, a multipurpose regional improvement initiative.
The master plan’s yearlong development effort was led by the Goody Clancy consultant team of Boston after Mayor Carl Brewer engaged residents and stakeholders for months on the need for an updated master plan. The previous plan was nearly 20 years old.
The master plan is a blueprint to guide revitalization projects through public-private partnerships. The master plan identifies a market potential for as much as $500 million in private-sector investment in 1,500-1,600 new housing units, 125,000-175,000 square feet of retail space, 400,000-480,000 square feet of office space, and 350-475 hotel rooms in downtown. The plan outlines 43 action strategies for accomplishing this revitalization potential through efforts focused on creating unique downtown places, expanding transportation choices and enabling development. Approximately $100 million in parking, streets and parks/open space improvements are recommended to be made in conjunction with the private-sector revitalization projects. For information about the award or master plan, please contact Scott Knebel, Downtown Revitalization Manager, at (316) 268-4456 or SKnebel@wichita.gov.