WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Northeast Wichita is currently without a pool, but those in the McAdams community continue to ask the city to change that. Recently, city council approved a plan that allocates $4 million dollars into the 67214 community.
“Our pool was the first one to go,” said Council of the Elders member, Wakeelah Mutazammil-Martinez. “That says a lot to our community about how they feel about us but that’s not going to stop us from fighting to get it back.”
There were three pools out of the nine selected to close and the McAdams community closed this summer; the other pools are set to close in the coming years.
However, Saturday was all about progress. Community members, McAdams activist, and city leaders like Wichita’s city manager, Robert Layton, were all present for the round table discussion on how to revitalize the 67214 community.
The McAdams recreation room was full of discussion surrounding not only how they can continue to effectively fight for their neighborhood pool but also what types of things they would like to see in their McAdams neighborhood. This is a discussion that some say started long before the pool was actually closed.
There have been multiple discussions and rallies around the reopen of the pool. City council recently matched these efforts with a new proposal to invest $4 million dollars into the community. This money could include a pool for the North east Wichita area. However, they won’t have access to this money until 2021 and some at the round table discussion say, that’s not soon enough.
“All we have to say is, we want it and go get because it belongs to us,” said McAdams pool architect, Charles McAfee. “What happened to all the tax money my mom and dad paid all those years. Where did that tax money go?”
Others in attendance for the discussion, like former mayor, Carl Brewer, said the conversation around McAdams pool started years ago.
“We’ve done some work but we still have a long way to go and we certainly have not fell in line with what the future plan was,” said Brewer. “Now, it’s time to educate the community about what’s going on, how to read the budget and understand the politics of local government and how it’s affecting them and their families and their communities.”
Saturday’s meeting was an attempt to get back on track with what the community wants to see in the McAdams neighborhood. for some, the money that the city committed to giving McAdams motivated them to get organized in their requests.
“I’d like to see a neighborhood pool for everyone,” said one group discussion leader. “I would also like to see: a community skating ring, game rooms, visual arts , drama, dance and a grocery store.”
The president of the NAACP, Larry Burks, was also present at Saturday’s meeting and involved in a group discussion that suggested collaborating with local businesses. .
“We spend a lot of money all over this city,” said Burks. “I think we should be able to persuade some of those businesses to make an investment in us our community.”
This round table discussion was hosted by the Council of the Elders. They plan to meet on a more consistent basis to not only continue to plan but also to keep the community informed.