A new neighborhood rebuilding initiative was introduced at the mayor’s Thursday news briefing. Residents are being encouraged to join the effort, which serves to strengthen Wichita communities through means of reinvestment, revitalization and infill development.
Wichita’s Central Northeast neighborhood, east of I-135 and west of Hillside between 9th and 13th streets, will serve as the initial focus for the initiative. This area resides in Councilwoman Lavonta Williams’s District I.
A kickoff meeting is scheduled for Tuesday from 5:30 until 7 p.m. in the Community Room at the Madison Avenue Apartments.
“This meeting is an opportunity for the interested public, neighborhood residents, city and elected officials, property and business owners and institutional stakeholders to discuss issues, concerns, opportunities, trends as well as new ideas and approaches on how to promote neighborhood rebuilding and reinvestment efforts,” Williams said. “Please join us for this important conversation and initiative for our City and especially the A. Price Woodard and Murdock neighborhoods.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program supports this initiative. Wichita is among just 20 communities across the country that were chosen to participate in the 2016 program.
The Wichita meeting’s discussion will be facilitated by the Renaissance Planning firm’s neighborhood reinvestment experts. The firm operates out of Charlottesville, Va. Wichita’s Central Northeast neighborhood was chosen to be the pilot project, as it meets the opportunity area criteria that is outlined in the Wichita-Sedgwick County Community Investments Plan 2015-2035 which has been recently approved. This area is also currently receiving reinvestment interest from groups like Habitat for Humanity and Mennonite Housing.
“If this pilot initiative proves successful,” Williams said, ”the lessons learned will be applied to other appropriate areas and neighborhoods in the City as part of the implementation of the Wichita Urban Infill Strategy contained in the new Community Investments Plan.”
Working sessions are scheduled for Wednesday, and will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Downtown YMCA. These sessions are invitation-based, and will include participants who have leadership, expertise, and experience in the area of revitalizing neighborhoods. The group will be asked to identify strategies and actions that support infill development, reinvestment and revitalization.