Here’s a shameless plug for a good look at the coming city council election and downtown revitalization’s role in it, courtesy of my colleague Brent Wistrom.
It would be unfortunate if the election became a referendum on downtown revitalization and the city’s role in it. The reason is simple: Regardless of your stance on downtown redevelopment, things are happening downtown.
The arena’s less than a year away from completion. Rooftops are coming, through another Dave Burk loft project and the beginning of work at Exchange Place and the Bitting Building. A grocery store announcement for downtown could come at any time – a foundational need as the city and developers recruit residents for downtown.
City officials will begin their pitch for public engagement in reshaping downtown this week. They say that public and private investments downtown are almost a dollar-for-dollar match, and have increased downtown property values by about $200 million.
Alex Garvin, the Yale professor who visited Wichita earlier this month, talked at length about how public-private partnerships can and have worked to revitalize a downtown. They’re not perfect: Witness the failure in Des Moines to replicate a unique set of walkways in Minneapolis.
Nonetheless, it would be a tragedy if the “no taxes, no way, no how” crowd cut that process short.