Updated Tuesday at 7:50 p.m.
Wichita City Council members voted unanimously Tuesday to direct more than $600,000 toward revitalizing and reopening the historic Dunbar Theatre.
In 2005, the nonprofit organization Power CDC was awarded funding that brought a Save-A-Lot grocery store to the corner of 13th and Grove. The group recently sold their portion of the store and the proceeds, which were part of a HUD loan, were supposed to go back to the city. The council's decision Tuesday will redirect those funds back to the Dunbar at 9th and Cleveland.
Several residents addressed the council during the public comment period in favor of the amendment. Some raised concerns over the need to invest in youth and the community as a whole, not just select areas of town.
Mayor Jeff Longwell reminded residents the city has invested in the McAdams area.
"I would hope that we could educate those young people that we do believe in them. We are investing in them. We care about all parts of town and I think that our track record shows," he said.
The theatre is part of a plan to spur economic development, especially in the McAdams neighborhood, and will house arts classes, plays and dance.
Dunbar was built in 1940 but closed in 1963. District 1 City Councilwoman Lavonta Williams says she hopes the city can also secure historic tax credits from the state of Kansas.
Carla Eckels is interim news director and the host of Soulsations. Follow her on Twitter @Eckels.
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