Vol. 4, Issue 7                                     July 2019
Decision Time is Just Around the Corner on Century II… Finally
I first heard discussions about the future of Century II about five years ago. For years, I’ve heard people say that Century II is a tired, antiquated facility that no longer meets the 21 st century needs. That’s funny to me since I’m older than Century II. 

I’ve been told the trucks that carry items into the facility are larger today and cannot get into the building. Multiple events cannot share the building since sound radiates from section to section. Some say to update the facility will cost more than replacing it which wouldn’t fundamentally solve all of the issues anyway. 

This reminds me of the debate on the Kansas Coliseum that opened in 1977 and was closed in 2010. When the Coliseum was getting worn out, this community had a similar discussion that led to the creation of the INTRUST Bank Arena.

Overall, the proposed arena started out politically challenged but was marginally approved by voters in 2005. Looking back, I think IBA has gained more support and has arguably improved the quality of life of virtually every Sedgwick County resident from concerts to sporting events

People often say they were impressed how Sedgwick County raised the funds, shut down the sales tax, and built what was promised. Since then, Sedgwick County has meticulously maintained and improve the facility.

Last week, I was asked to support the Wichita Legacy Master Plan with some support from Sedgwick County. Like INTRUST Bank Arena, whatever happens on Wichita’s East Bank area will undoubtedly impact the quality of life in Derby and across the region. Knowing we are honing in on a final answer to the question makes this worth the investment. Please know this study is 71% privately funded. Within about six months, the recommendations should be crystal clear.   

The lingering question no politician wants to answer is what is the best solution. That’s why people from all around this community need to participate and share their thoughts on the Legacy Master Plan. There will be many opportunities but the first public meeting will be on July 31 st at the Wichita Boathouse from 4:30 to 6:30.

One thing is certain. Whatever happens to Century II needs to be decided by voters. In Kansas, we cannot simply put a policy question on the ballot as a referendum. However, a complete plan with a funding proposal can be on a ballot sometime in the future. Will the proposal separate the performing arts from the convention space? Should Century II be fixed? Or will the plan and voters opt for Century III? 
County Seeks Solutions to Groundwater Flooding
Following a special meeting on Tuesday, June 25, Sedgwick County officials are taking steps to assist homeowners in south Sedgwick County (District 2) who are battling groundwater flooding their basements following record rainfall in the area.
 
The Board of County Commissioners recommended several administrative steps designed to provide relief for the homeowners who have groundwater flooding problems in the unincorporated areas of south central Sedgwick County.
 
“We are going to work with the affected residents and try to find solutions,” 2nd District Commissioner Michael O’Donnell said. “The measures represent a collaborative effort by County staff who will work with property owners and keep the BOCC updated.”
 
Sedgwick County Public Works will work with Salem Township to review water flow and clean debris from affected ditches. If possible, ditch clearing and other maintenance will be performed so that any water residents are pumping from their homes can adequately flow from the area. 
 
The Sedgwick County Counselor’s Office will review the possibility of a tax abatement for homes affected by the ongoing groundwater flooding.
 
Seeking a long-term solution, Sedgwick County officials will launch an education campaign to inform affected residents of a process to establish a special project and taxing district. In 2015, a similar project helped address flooding along the 71st and Hydraulic area.
 
“It’s important that we work together as a region to learn about ways to solve this issue,” 4th District Commissioner Lacey Cruse said. “Water is our most precious resource, by working together we may be able to develop ways to put this water to good use and out of our basements.”

A County work team, led by Assistant County Manager Tania Cole and Environmental Resources Director Susan Erlenwein, will organize an upcoming meeting with groundwater flooding experts and other stakeholders to discuss, analyze, and work toward a long-term solution of the groundwater flooding. The meeting is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, August 8 at Haysville Middle School, 900 W. Grand Ave.

Sedgwick County District 5 Commissioner Jim Howell encouraged residents to attend the August 8 meeting.

“We need to hear from you, he said. “Your voice matters. The devastating water infiltration being experienced by these homeowners is both heartbreaking and frustrating. I’ll continue my commitment to advocate for both short-term and long-term practical solutions.”
Projects in District 5
Scrub Seal
  • Operations to begin late July/early August on select county roads
  • Excess gravel to be swept off a few days after application
  • Road open to traffic but expect delays

Asphalt Overlays anticipated in late August
  • Webb Road from 103rd Street to 119th Street South
  • 111th Street South from Webb Road to Greenwich Road
Sun Safety Tips to Follow this Summer
Summertime means spending weekends at the lake, going to the Sedgwick County Zoo, and kids heading off to summer camp. All of that time outdoors means more exposure to the sun. Sedgwick County wants you to be safe while you’re enjoying your time outdoors so they have provided some helpful information about sun safety for you to consider this summer.

  • How sunscreen works: Most sunscreen products work by absorbing, reflecting, or scattering sunlight. They contain chemicals that interact with the skin to protect it from ultraviolet (UV) rays.
  • SPF: Sunscreens are assigned a sun protection factor (SPF) number that rates their effectiveness in blocking UV rays. Higher numbers indicate more protection. You should use a broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15.
  • Re-application: Sunscreen wears off. Put it on again if you stay out in the sun for more than two hours and after swimming, sweating, or toweling off.
  • Expiration date: Sunscreen without an expiration date has a shelf life of no more than three years but its shelf life is shorter if it has been exposed to high temperatures.
Crews continue to work on the Kellogg/ I-235 interchange rebuild. This first phase is scheduled to be completed this year.
Update on Kellogg/ 235 interchange
Project updates can be found at www.235kelloggcentral.com and include:

  • All ramps are open but temporary lane closures are possible for regular maintenance chores or to complete minor items from the construction punch list.
  • Work will resume on bridge painting as weather moderates but traffic should not be affected.
Staycation Ideas in Sedgwick County
It’s summertime – you know what that means? Family vacation! But, what if you don’t want to travel, and just want to stay in the area and spend time with family? Let’s call it a ‘staycation.’ This summer is the perfect time to get to know Sedgwick County a little better. Below are six family-friendly options for you to get out the door and do something fun this summer!
  • Exploration Place: Let your kids explore of the world of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) at Exploration Place. Guests will experience a wide range of educational programs during their visit through permanent and traveling exhibits, as well as Digital Dome Theater shows.Visit their website for upcoming events: www.exploration.org
  • INTRUST Bank Arena: This modern, state-of-the-art sports and entertainment venue located in the heart of downtown is always bringing new acts to the area for you to enjoy. Whether it’s a concert, comedian, or sporting event, there’s something for the whole family! Check out their website for more information and to view a list of performances coming our way: https://www.intrustbankarena.com/.
  • Lake Afton Park: This 258-acre lake is the perfect weekend getaway spot for the whole family! Grab your tent, take a swimming suit, and don’t forget the s’mores as you head out the door for some fun in the sun. Lake Afton offers a number of activities including boating, water skiing, fishing, swimming, and more.
  • Northeast Sedgwick County Park: Head to NESCP and take in the beautiful 600-acre grassland and wooded area. It’s the perfect location to take your dog for a long walk, or to ride your horse between dawn and dusk.
  • Sedgwick County Park: Enjoy the great outdoors at Sedgwick County Park! Located in northwest Wichita, this 400-acre site is the perfect place to take kids of any age. Grab your fishing pole and do a little fishing, shoot some hoops at the basketball courts, or play at the Boundless Playground. The park also includes several open and enclosed shelters – perfect for hosting parties – and has a number of BBQ grills available for use while you’re there.
  • Sedgwick County Zoo: Who doesn’t love animals? This 247-acre zoo is home to more than 3,000 animals of nearly 400 species. It’s also the #1 outdoor tourist attraction the in the State of Kansas, and ranked among the best zoos in the world! All we’re saying is, if you haven’t been to the Sedgwick County Zoo, you’re missing out. Find out more at their website: www.scz.org.
New County Program offered to Veterans
The Register of Deeds Veteran Discount Card program is now available! The discount card is a way for the County and the businesses to show gratitude to those who have served in the armed forces. In the first week of the program, more than 100 DD-214’s were filed and more than 250 cards were made.
 
The discount card is not a formal military ID, and cannot be used as a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC), a Department of Defense (DoD) Identification Card, or a state-issued driver’s license/ID with a “Veterans” designation. Further, the discount card may not be used to pro ve eligibility for any federal benefits, to access military bases or installations, to access military commissaries or exchanges, to present as a form of identification at any airport, to check into a VA hospital, or to show as proof of retirement from the Armed Forces.
 
The Veterans Discount Card is issued from the Register of Deeds Office located on the 2nd floor of the Main Courthouse, 525 N. Main, Suite 227. More information can be found online:  https://www.sedgwickcounty.org/…/veteran-military-discount…/ .
County's 2020 Recommended Budget Released
This month, County Manager Tom Stolz presented the 2020 Recommended Budget to the Board of Sedgwick County Commissioners. Over the next several weeks, follow us on social media to learn more about the Recommended Budget.

There was a public hearing during the Board of County Commissioners regular meeting on Wednesday, July 24. Residents may participate in an evening public hearing at 6 p.m. Monday, August 5. The hearing will be held in the Commission meeting room, 525 N. Main, third floor. An online public forum is open at www.sedgwickcounty.org. Commissioners are scheduled to adopt a 2020 budget Wednesday, August 7. 
Wind and Solar Energy Moratorium Extended
Commissioners voted to extend the wind and solar energy operations to November 10, 2019. At this time, regulations have been considered by the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission (MAPC), but they are not slated to go in front of the Board of County Commissioners or Wichita City Council until after August 12. 
Commissioners attend County Fair
Sedgwick County participated in the Sedgwick County Fair Parade in Cheney. Following the parade, Commissioners and members of the Sedgwick County Fair Board held a groundbreaking ceremony on the Sedgwick County Fair Grounds for a new building that will replace Building 2. The County approved $100,000 toward the completion of the building which should be ready by the end of the year.
Join Us at the Riverfront Legacy Master Plan Open House
The first opportunity for the community to share their vision on the east bank of the Arkansas River (from Kellogg to Douglas and the River to Main) will be an open house from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, July 31, at the Wichita Boathouse, 515 S. Wichita. A brief presentation is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. This is a come-and-go event.

During the open house, people will be encouraged to share their vision for the area through interactive opportunities. The project team will be available to answer questions for the duration of the meeting. Learn more about the project at www.riverfrontlegacywichita.org.
As the top outdoor family attraction in the State, the mission of the Sedgwick County Zoo is to inspire discovery, appreciation, and respect for animals and nature. It is home to 3,000 animals and nearly 400 species. The Reed Family Elephants of the Zambezi River Valley exhibit is the third largest elephant habitat in the United States. 
Exploration Place, Kansas’ premier science center, inspires a deeper interest in science through creative and fun experiences for people of all ages. Through its permanent and travelling exhibits, education programs, Digital Dome Theater films and special events, visitors can enjoy learning about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.  
The Kansas African American Museum endeavors to make the Kansas African American experience resonate with EVERY Kansan. Located in the venerable Calvary Baptist Church, visitors may expand their knowledge and understanding of the Kansas African American story. 
Residents and visitors can gain an understanding of our community and cultural heritage at the Wichita – Sedgwick County Historical Museum. By collecting, preserving, and interpreting materials which reflect the area’s heritage visitors can experience different facets that shaped the community we live in today.  

Contact  Commissioner Jim Howel l: 
316-660-9300
525 N. Main, Ste 320, Wichita, KS 67203