The City Council today approved $1 million in funding for facility renovation and expansion at Evergreen Neighborhood Resource Center in north central Wichita. Evergreen Center is a popular place for residents and groups in the north central area. Through October, the facility had served 7,910 individuals.
Services and resources at the center include the City's Neighborhood Inspection, computer and internet access, photocopying, and faxing. Partnering agencies providing services at the center include the State of Kansas Department for Children and Families, Kansas Association for the Medically Underserved, Multi-Cultural English Learning Center ESL classes, AARP free tax preparation, Real Men Real Heroes youth mentoring, and Butler County Community College GED and Pre-Citizenship classes. During 2017, Evergreen Center staff assisted in the promotion, planning, and implementation of multiple community events including the Citizens Police Academy, the City's Summer Activity Camp for Kids, the Big Dawg Basketball Clinic and more. The center's parking lot is home to the Lord's Diner food truck, which serves an average of 300 plus meals daily Monday through Friday.
Outgoing City Council Member Janet Miller said of the funding commitment, "The Evergreen Center is in dire need of renovation and additional space in order to continue offering its present services and to expand into other areas of neighborhood need." A recently convened advisory committee will assist in determining the facility needs and design in the upcoming months. Incoming District 6 City Council Member Cindy Claycomb said of the project, "I'm looking forward to working with community leaders and residents on this exciting and much-needed project."
The expanded and renovated facility will focus on serving other neighborhood needs, including work in four focus areas: 1) Civic Engagement, 2) Cultural Celebration, 3) Workforce Development, and 4) Small Business Development. Intensive conversations with community stakeholders and potential partners have been held throughout 2017 about possible program expansion and activities, including small business start-up classes, afterschool tutoring, and a Civic Engagement Academy. The Academy recently received a $25,000 2-year grant from Kansas Health Foundation for 2018-2019.
The funding source for the Evergreen Center's improvements is the proceeds from the sale of the downtown Hyatt Regency in 2016. The City sold the hotel for $20 million and Council members subsequently voted to set aside $1 million for projects in each of the six Council districts.