Council to vote on arts funding, better parks and West Street

Fixing the police chopper, spreading cash to arts groups, paving park roads and smoothing West Street. It’s all on next Tuesday’s City Council agenda. Here’s a breakdown of the major items. (If you want more details, download the entire 558-page packet.)

Tax dollars for art: A few years back, the city increased its cultural arts funding to subsidize local groups such as Botanica, Wichita Grand Opera and the Tallgrass Film Festival. Splitting this $1.2 million between the groups is a competitive process, and it forces a board of people who are closely-linked to many major art groups to reach an agreement over who gets what. Here’s the breakdown they came up with this year:

Tier I: Wichita Art Museum, Inc. $1,279,960 The Kansas African American Museum $2,330 Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum $82,140 *Historic Wichita Sedgwick County, Inc. (Old Cowtown Museum) $241,850 Arts Council $6,540 Mid-America All-Indian Center $57,900 Botanica $232,500 Total Flat Funding $1,903,220 *No flat funding contract for Old Cowtown Museum since it is now under management of the

Tier II: The Wichita Sedgwick County Historical Museum $43,000 The Wichita Art Museum, Inc. $240,000 Mid-America All-Indian Center $60,000 Botanica, The Wichita Gardens $85,000 The Kansas African American Museum $25,000 *Old Cowtown Museum $150,000 Orpheum Performing Arts Center, Ltd $50,891 Sedgwick County Zoological Society $45,000 Wichita Symphony Music Theatre of Wichita 95,000 $75,000 Friends University $14,000 Wichita Grand Opera $30,000 Ulrich Museum $20,000 Wichita Children’s Theatre and Dance Center $40,000

Tier III: Chamber Music at the Barn $20,000 Arts Partners $33,000 Ballet Wichita $15,000 Kansas Aviation Museum $28,000 The Wichita Asian Association $3,000 Wichita Chamber Chorale, Inc. $2,000 Tallgrass Film Festival $10,000 Opera Kansas $5,000 Heart of America Men’s Chorus Inc. $5,000 Wichita Film and Music Festival Inc. $3,000 Music Theatre for Young People $4,000 American Guild of Organists $450 Wichita Black Arts Festival $3,000 Wichita Public Library Foundation $22,500 The Griots Storytelling Institute $1,000 Total Cultural Funding (29) $1,127,841

West Street fix-up: Better drainage and smoother road on West Street between Maple and Central. That’s the aim here. It’ll run up to $9.6 million (barring any change orders later on). The city describes it as follows: the project will “replace the existing pavement on West Street with a new five-lane roadway, with four through lanes and a center two-way left turn lane, left turn lanes at all four approaches at the Douglas and 2nd Street intersections and reconstruction of the Central intersection. A new storm water sewer will be installed. During construction of the project, traffic will be limited to one lane in each direction with no left turn lanes allowed at the intersections and alternating closures of Douglas and 2nd Street.

Equity in water hook-ups: As it stands, when new water manes are installed in new developments, the homeowners (or developers) only pay for an 8-inch mane. But they get a 16-inch one — everyone else who uses city water picks up the rest of the cost. Now the city council will consider a move that would make the new neighborhoods cover the entire cost. The city calculates that an average resident would pay a one-time fee of $378 for a 14,520 square foot lot.

Paving in Sim Park: The city set $300,000 aside in their long-term fund to pave Sim Park Drive, near the Arkansas River, and some parking lots in the area. This vote would make that happen.

13th and Broadway more expensive: A million dollar project that expanded the 13th and Broadway intersection in north Wichita just got a bit more expensive — $14,854 to be exact. That pays for the pedestrian signals that count down crossing time, relocating some wires and lowering a storm drain, according to the agenda.

Police helicopter repairs: The transmission has some problems, and the Federal Aviation Administration would require a replacement in 2009 anyway, the city says. So, the council will vote on a $50,500 deal to replace the transmission so the chopper doesn’t go out of service for too long.