I had the opportunity to go to lunch with Jeff Fluhr last week. He’s the new president of the Wichita Downtown Development Corp.
Naturally, we chatted about downtown. Fluhr sees the Arkansas River as a key component to downtown revitalization. That’s what the mayor says, too. In fact, everyone seems to bring up the river, but not many people seem to be doing much about it.
Take the Hyatt Regency Wichita. The city owns it, right? Why, then, was there extensive remodeling of the main restaurant and bar at the Hyatt, but still no incorporation of the river?
I’m sure it would have cost more, but this could have been the perfect opportunity to reposition the restaurant to overlook the river, preferably through huge picture windows. And an accompanying outdoor patio would have been a must. Done correctly, the restaurant and bar could lure Wichitans — not just travelers — to stop in.
Then again, even a river view might not attract me with prices like $22 for two less-than-generous pours of wine, which I was recently charged there.
Still, I think the remodeling was a lost opportunity.
I hope Jeff can work with the city to ensure we take advantage of the next one.