Neighborhood Association upset over unused Center

WICHITA, Kansas — The Heartland Preparedness Center was supposed to be a joint facility between the city, county and state but only the state of Kansas is there, with the National Guard.

Leaders with the Millaire Neighborhood association say they are calling the Mayor and anyone who will listen, saying there is a broken promise in Northeast Wichita.

“I’m very very disappointed,” says Patricia Fields with the Neighborhood Association. “Because part of what was supposed to happen was not only for the city and the county but also for the community. And for our neighborhood associations to be able to use the facility. But now it’s just a state facility?”

County Commissioners say they are listening to the Neighborhood Association and its concerns. But, they say they will not help build the city/county portion of the Heartland Preparedness Center.

Why? Because the price tag is about $30 Million.

“Are they going to bring a check for 30-million dollars? We are living in a new age with the economic downturn,” says County Commissioner Karl Peterjohn. “We just are not in a position to spend that kind of money.”

“There are a lot of wonderful individuals on that commission,” says Fields. “It’s unfortunate that they are not going to follow through on what has already been decided. We will be contacting everyone.”

Fields says they will talk to commissioners and city council members and the mayor.

The Wichita Police Chief, Norman Williams and Sedgwick County Sheriff, Jeff Easter, both says something has to be done. The old facility used for training officers is breaking down and need much in the way of maintenance.

County leaders and city leaders agree, but say there are still questions about the price of a new facility.

“Well, we are looking to the leadership of the sheriff and Chief of Police,” says city council member James Clendenin. “Obviously, $30 Million is a lot. We will have to see what kind of a plan emerges. We all know something has to be done.”

Neighborhood leaders says they will be watching.

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