Wichita enlists help from Kansas State students for Delano improvements

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The City of Wichita has some major plans in store for the Delano neighborhood, and they’ve enlisted a group of students from Kansas State to help.

Wichita’s historic Delano District is known all the local shops and restaurants in the area. It’s also the center of a few big changes recently approved by the city.

On May 2, the City of Wichita approved plans to rebuild Lawrence Dumont Stadium and make other improvements along the Arkansas River.

With the major changes coming to the area, the city wants to factor local opinion into the designs.

“I think it is really to make sure that as the baseball project occurs and the other things that are associated with that like improvements to the river bank on the west side, a pedestrian bridge, a pathway along the former rail corridor; that all of that is compatible and meshes with you know, the existing Delano neighborhood,” said Scott Knebel, with the MAPC.

Some people in the Delano neighborhood expressed that same concern.

“Just to make sure that we maintain the old fashioned vibe we have in the Delano District and to keep it separate from the rest of Wichita and really just try to emphasize that beautiful river,” said Nicole Habashy, who works at Bohemia Healing Spa in Delano.

That’s where the partnership with Kansas State comes in.

“The focus of their effort is to try to identify some critical sites that will likely be developed in some way and come up with a plan for each of those individual sites,” Knebel said.

The city is holding a Delano Neighborhood engagement session Thursday evening where a group of landscape architecture students from Kansas State will hear feedback from residents and business owners in the area.

Those students will return to Wichita several times throughout the summer to collect data and research the neighborhood’s needs before presenting their final design ideas in July.

City leaders intend to use the information collected by the students to make the designs a reality, according to Jason Gregory, executive vice president of the Wichita Downtown Development Corp.

It’s a win-win situation, Gregory said.

“Students just bring a unique perspective,” he said. “You know, they’re thinking outside the box and they’re, you know, a lot of times they’re thinking of things that we wouldn’t as locals that live here or, in a lot of ways, they encourage us to push; push design from the design concept standpoint.”

The meeting is from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at in the MAPC Conference Room on the 2nd floor of the Ronald Regan building. The building is located at 271 W. 3rd St. in Wichita.

Check back with KSN for an update on the plans.