The public got a look this week at a new design plan for Naftzger Park in downtown Wichita. The meeting Wednesday was the third public engagement event held since the redesign process started last year.
The latest design incorporates elements from some of the four concepts released in August, and includes a performance stage, fountain, and dog park, something lead architect Tom Balsley says will attract more activity to the area at all hours of the day.
Speaking after the design was revealed, City Council member Brandon Johnson said he was glad to see a park that was inclusive, something he had emphasized in his campaign for the District 1 seat last year. The city’s decision to redesign the park had drawn criticism from many Wichitans who said it would displace homeless people there.
“I think they’ll get use out of it. I think the community will get use out of it," Johnson said. "And I love bringing people of different social classes together -- what better way [than] to have the CEO or business owner in the same park as someone who’s homeless?”
The design went before different city boards on Thursday for more discussion.
Improvements to the park are expected to cost $3 million, funded by Tax Increment Financing. Additional sales tax revenue is expected to be brought in by a planned multimillion-dollar development next door where the old Spaghetti Works building now stands.
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