Funds From Hyatt Sale Supporting Several Wichita Projects

Sep 6, 2017

City Council members voted Tuesday to allocate more than $4 million from the recent sale of the Hyatt Hotel to projects across Wichita.

Five of Wichita's six council districts put forward plans on how to use their share of the funds. Only District 6, which encompasses Old Town, was not part of the vote.

Projects include a new dog park at Harrison Park in District 2; a matching donation of $250,000 for the renovation of Dunbar Theatre in District 1; and $1 million toward the development of the Pracht Wetlands Park in District 5.

Councilman James Clendenin said all of the project plans are the result of lengthy discussions with residents in each district.

“We’re able to use these funds to better the quality of life for all of our districts," he said. "And this has been a process of listening to the community.”

The city of Wichita sold the Hyatt to hotel and casino magnate Phil Ruffin last year for $20 million dollars. $10 million from the sale is going toward street maintenance, and another $4 million is going toward the city's transit system.

Below is a full list of projects by district that will receive a portion of the Hyatt funds:

District 1

-Neighborhood Grant Program, $124,000: Grants will be available for one-time projects in the district, with a cap of $1500. The city says a review committee will select projects that benefit income-eligible residents with sidewalk repairs, emergency tree trimming, eliminating deed issues to establish legal home ownership, and other special projects.

-Dunbar Challenge Grant, $250,000: This grant will be matched dollar-for-dollar by private donations to help fund the renovation of the 340-seat theatre in the McAdams neighborhood.

-Young Entrepreneurs, $36,000: This grant, associated with the business startup incubator e2e, will cover some costs for a program that introduces students to business and entrepreneurship.

District 2

-Harrison Park Parking Lot, $100,000: This grant will cover more than half the cost of a project to fix the east parking lot at Harrison Park so a dog park can be constructed.

-“Doc” Hangar, $900,000: Funds will support the construction of a permanent home for the WWII-era bomber.

District 3

-Neighborhood Grant Program, $500,000: These funds will support neighborhood improvement projects and activities in the district.

-Neighborhood Inspection Pilot Project, $150,000: They city says this grant will support a new neighborhood inspector position focused on "proactive property maintenance inspection and enforcement" in the area between Lincoln and Pawnee, from I-135 to Oliver, and between Hillside and Oliver, from Kellogg to Lincoln.

District 4

-Pawnee Prairie Park Improvements, $1 Million: Improvements to the 624-acre park would provide bicycle and hiking paths, improved bridge crossings, a horse watering area, drinking fountains, a playground, improved lighting, picnic tables, benches, expanded equestrian parking and educational/regulatory signage.

District 5

-Pracht Wetlands Park, $1 Million: The allocation will finance much of Phase 2 of the development of the urban wetlands park, extending the boardwalk to the west to a second viewing area.

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