Well known attractions at Wichita city parks on chopping block

Kansas Wildlife Exhibit (KSN file photo)

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WICHITA, Kansas – Jannise Boner often takes her granddaughter to Riverside Park to enjoy the Kansas Wildlife Exhibit.

“I mean it’s really pretty here, and it gives the kids something to do, and so you know, they’re not out and getting in trouble,” said Jannise Boner, resident.

But that could change in a couple of years.

The proposed budget for 2014 includes eliminating the exhibit as part of an overall plan that could save $250,000.

But Wichita Parks & Recreation Director Doug Kupper says it won’t be an easy decision.

“We know it’s important and has been important. We want to talk to the stakeholder, city staff, and Great Plains Nature Center,” said Doug Kupper, Director for Wichita Parks & Recreation.

The cuts could also extend to operations at Watson Park.

“Are there other entities out there that could be doing concessions, the train, putt putt, the horses, and the paddle boat, and should it be a concessionaire type of situation?” said Kupper.

Kupper believes putting some of those operations in private hands could help cut cost for the city but isn’t the only option.

“Can we generate more revenue in another element of recreation to help sustain those expenses, at those other elements or should we be charging different fees along those lines?” said Kupper.

In addition to those proposed cuts, the city is also looking to other departments to save money as well.

That’s including the police and fire department.

By delaying the police recruitment class by three months, city leaders say it could save $300,000 and that moving fire equipment station to station could save $400,000.

A public hearing is scheduled for August 6th at City Hall so residents are encouraged to chime in with feedback.

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