Wichita Transit, city streets could benefit from Hyatt sale

(KSN News photo)

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The sale of Wichita’s Hyatt Regency is complete, but now the city wants to use those funds to breathe new life into other areas.

At today’s city council meeting, the distribution of some of that Hyatt money will be put to a vote.

The city sold the Hyatt for $20 million over the summer.

Today, the council will vote whether to use $10 million of the proceeds for public works and another $4 million to improve city transit, leaving $6 million up for consideration.

For public works, that money would go towards helping maintain and improve the quality Wichita’s streets.

When it comes to transit, we could see improved service and budget sustainability.

“One of the connections is that if you look at the public input they did over the last couple of years and the National Citizens Survey that they conducted of residents, transit and streets came out as two of the items that are most in need of improvement,” said Steve Spade, Wichita Transit director.

Spade believes the council is looking to fund things that will better meet the needs of the community, which includes a better transit system.

“We’re hoping that the majority of the population within the City of Wichita has access to some form of public transportation if they want it,” Spade said.

When it comes to short term solutions, there’s a few possibilities already on the table, Spade told KSN.

“One of the things we can do to take a look at night service and Sunday service, for instance, is again, these feeder services, these partnerships with others that would allow us to offer service to people a times when there are not a lot of people that are trying to move around,” he said.

Increased service is a big need.

Wichita Transit asked the public for feedback and one comment they got repeatedly was that there’s not enough Sunday or evening hours.

Many people said that along with more hours, they’d like to see more frequent service, meaning buses would come more often.

“If we look down the road five or ten years, one of the things we’re looking for obviously, is a fiscally stable system but we’re also looking at a system that delivers service in more creative ways so when people think about Wichita Transit, they won’t just think about a big bus running down the street, but they’ll think about a network of transportation services that anybody can take advantage of,” Spade said.

If the city council votes to give Wichita Transit some of the Hyatt funds today, the next step will involve meeting with stakeholders and talking about these future improvements.