Category Archives: City of Wichita

Mayor defends Sister Cities trip to France

WICHITA — Facing criticism of City Council member Janet Miller’s planned Sister Cities trip to Paris, Mayor Carl Brewer launched a long defense, saying that such trips can draw business to the city.

Brewer’s response today comes after Bob Weeks, a local blogger who has pressed the city on the issue, called the International Sister Cities Conference a “junket” that the city should not pay for in a tough economic climate.

“Even in good budget times, I would argue these trips should be avoided,” Weeks told council members this morning.

Read More »

Topeka OKs sales tax increase for streets

WICHITA — As Wichita struggles to find enough money to repair its deteriorating streets, another Kansas community has chosen a solution for its street problems.

Topeka residents approved a half-cent sales tax Tuesday to fix streets and other infrastructure. The proposal to raise the sales tax to 7.95 cents on the dollar was approved by 57 percent of voters.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports: The 10-year tax takes effect Oct. 1, with proceeds going to pay costs of “maintenance and improvements of existing streets, gutters, curbs, sidewalks, alleys and street lighting.”

Wichita has more than 500 miles of streets in “critical” condition and isn’t spending enough to keep up with the deterioration, we reported in February.

Why might Wichita be an All-American City?

all-american city logoWe’ve noticed a few questions about how Wichita is a finalist for the All-American Cities award.

Read on to see the city’s application, which includes detailed descriptions of the projects that were picked.  (Some personal contact information has been removed.  And some fonts and characters have been slightly scrambled in conversion.) Read More »

Fireworks in the sky, debris on the bridge

The orchestra played, the cannons thundered and fireworks splashed across the sky to close out this year’s River Festival. But for hundreds of people on the 1st Street bridge, the shells of the fireworks were also part of the show as they rained down in the steady Kansas breeze Saturday night. (In the photo to the left you see an example of some of the cardboard casings that fell from the sky, accompanied by clouds of sulfur-flavored smoke.)

But perhaps that’s secondary. The closing night and the Friday evening festivities before it showcased the new paths along the Arkansas River, which were lit up with hundreds of people who were camped out for an early summer fireworks display. And, of course, the Keeper of the Plains and the ring of fire around it. The question remaining for the downtown portion of the river corridor is will that swath of land a little farther south, called the WaterWalk, one day be part of the spectacle?

Fight against blight gains unlikely "partners"

The City of Wichita and Sunflower Community Action’s working relationship is improving after the nonprofit group’s meeting with city officials to discuss run-down properties.

The city agreed to provide updates to Sunflower in April and May after Sunflower revealed its “Dirty 20″ list of properties to City Spokesman Van Williams and the city’s Office of Central Inspections and Environmental Services department leaders. Both sides considered the meeting a success – the city was pleased with Sunflower’s grassroots efforts to clean up blight in Central-Northeast Wichita and Sunflower was pleased the city started cases on several of the properties.

“We got to talk to each other, and not through the media or other groups,” Williams said, “and the communication benefited from that.”

Still, four Sunflower members are going to trial on misdemeanor charges the city pressed against them for illegal dumping and trespassing during a protest at City Manager George Kolb’s house in December. The group hoped to pressure Kolb to clean up dumping at a house at 10th and Volutsia.