Stories

We all have a story, and a vision of a better tomorrow.

Through extensive listening, the Project Wichita engagement process will define a vision for Wichita and the region in the next 10 years.

Read visions from our community below, taken from personal stories shared during the engagement process.

 

Shelley Hansel

 

Mayor of Wellington

So I will be 60 in 10 years, but my children will all be looking to college or will be right out of college; so to me, a job that is going to hold me here, a quality job and jobs that are going to hold my children here will make me want to live in the Wichita region 10 years from now. I think that quality, high-paying jobs are important. I don't necessarily want to leave here, but I also want to be able to make a living and I want my kids to be able to have a quality of life here. I think that we really need to look at what kind of jobs and what kind of people we are attracting. I would like to think that we will be a thriving metro-regional area and that we are all going to get beyond our little silos eventually.

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Isaias Martinez

Wichita Southeast High School Senior

My big dream for the Wichita region is that we modernize. For Wichita to not only become something that people talk about, but a city that people really want to go to; because this really is a great city with great people and if we modernize that I think that more of the trendy people will want to come here.

The best feature of the Wichita region is the fact that we are so diverse in the city. It amazes me how many people and how many languages we have here.

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Sarah Jane Crespo

Director of Community Engagement at KMUW

The one best feature of the Wichita region is the openness of possibility and the potential that people have here. Whatever it is that you want to try, you can try it and you have a chance. It’s not like being in New York City or a large city, where the competition is so fierce that you’ll probably never get off the ground. Here, you really do have a shot. In addition, the people support one another really well and the people are very supportive of one another’s efforts.

My big dream for the Wichita region in 10 years would be that Wichita has become more of a destination city for young people who have just graduated college and want to come work here. I would hope that Wichita becomes a place where there are really attractive jobs and attractive benefits for young people and young families.

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Reverend Roosevelt DeShazer

President of the Greater Wichita Ministerial League

10 years from now, I hope that we can continue the progress that we've made to come together as a community, all races and all economical statuses, and that we continue to come together as a city to make this place the best it can be.

10 years from now, I hope to be looking at retirement then. I hope that Wichita has more attractions and more outside activities to do. To have a real sense of community that everybody feels welcome here and continue to build Wichita and the city up. I hope that we continue to collaborate together to be the best city that we can be, that will make me want to stay here.

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Wendi Cole

Connecting ICT Member

My big dream for Wichita is that the technology is here so that my kids and grandkids are going to want to stay here. The jobs are here and they don't want to leave Wichita. The seniors are a big population, so we need to be able to have a community where they can feel like they have things that are accessible and that they could maybe return to work. Instead of an internship, it's a returnship so that they can utilize my skills and my peers' skills and go back into the workforce. We are more active than we used to be in our 50's, 60's and 70's. I think if we built communities, not just around the millennials, but if we built the communities around the aging population, people will stay and their grandkids will stay, because they'll be happy and so I think there will be a lot less people leaving.

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Ivan Thompson

Northeast High School Student

The big dream I have for the Wichita region is advancement in technology. Technology has made big advancements in the past couple of years. I think there should be something more that could make Kansas more intriguing to other states.

Something that would make me want to live here in the next 10 years would be better homes and affordable housing. I think that there should not be as many homeless people and that every person on this earth should have an opportunity for jobs and to be able to make money and have the ability to pay for their home.

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Terry Somers

Mayor of Mount Hope

It would be nice if we could all be together on purpose, together on where the region is going, and have a genuine outreach to those around. We have a lot of possibilities in various corners of our region.

The best feature of the Wichita region is the amenities that it has for us. The region provides tremendous opportunity and certainly helps us individually and for our families. The older we get, those requirements change, and I would certainly hope that the medical side of things, personally, would be enhanced. I hope that there are more job opportunities for our young people and our young families to stay in the region. I think it is a multi-faceted approach. You go from quality of life to economics to health, all of those things need to be enhanced in terms of keeping the population and wanting people to stay and continue to live here.

Anthony Joiner

Art that Touches Your Heart Board Member

The one best feature of the Wichita region would have to the education. Not only the amount of education, but the openness that you have and the willingness to help anyone to get the amount of education necessary to get the jobs that they’re looking for. I would love to live here 10 years from now if I were able to continue to build on what Art that Touches Your Heart is already doing, which is making art education more available to everyone and bringing more cultural diversity into the art scene.

My big dream for the Wichita region in 10 years would be to see more places like Nomar being built. I would like to see more of that happening. I would also like to see major businesses putting back into education to help further the plans that we already have now and what we are already doing and also to help to grow that and spread it to more parts of town that makes it more available for everyone as well.

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Khanh Le

Wichita Southeast High School Senior

The best feature of the Wichita region is the community gatherings. I love how there are so many events Downtown especially events like Riverfest, Final Friday, or the Old Town Farmers' Market, those are great community gatherings that everyone can join in and just hangout. I would love to see more businesses and more restaurants Downtown and more local events. So when you go Downtown in the next 10 years, you would see more community gatherings.

In 10 years, I would love to see more job opportunities. Even though there are a lot of restaurants and other opportunities, I feel like we should expand on business. I would really love to see young students have the ability to create their own businesses and use that as their dream.

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Ty Patton

Connecting ICT Member

My big dream for Wichita would be that we finally turn this corner of the 'woe is me Wichita' where we're almost apologetic for being Wichita and that we can walk tall, talk loud again. You start to see that now. You take that to the next level where again we're punching out of our weight class for bigger employers. Wichita is not competing with little towns, when companies look for relocating or building something, Wichita is on the plane with Dallas and Denver and Omaha. In the midwest, Wichita is on the first choice and we start to see opportunities like with Cargill Protein Group's Division Headquarters, where we have whole divisions located here. A diverse economy - it's not just aircraft, but we continue to grow that. If we become one of those sought after places where people recognize the talent and momentum. Wichita is on the same plane in terms of desirability for employers as places that we wouldn't have dreamed that we would be fighting against for employers.

Connie Pearl

Orpheum Theatre Volunteer

The one best feature of the Wichita region is that we have wonderful theater here. The Orpheum Theatre of course needs to be restored and we love it, but the Music Theatre of Wichita and the Wichita Theatre League put on such wonderful performances. They really are as good as the ones we saw in New York when we were there this last year. I love Wichita. I've lived here for 60 years or more and I just love it and I will probably live here until I die.

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Tequiza Watie

Student of Wichita South High School

The one best feature of the Wichita region is the community that we have. The people are helpful.

One thing that will make me want to live here in the Wichita region 10 years from now is if the environment changes. If there's more things to do to keep the kids off of the streets, such as various programs and activities geared towards kids.

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Shannon Boone

Owner of Shay Chic Productions

My favorite part of the Wichita region is Downtown. There are just so many things happening, we’ve got everything that you could possibly want to do right in the heart of the city so that’s where I take everyone who comes in from out of town. I show them coffee shops, art museums, all of the little places to shop to get Wichita inspired items like The Workroom and anywhere in Delano and the Douglas Design District. I also take them to all of our performing arts, that we have Downtown and all of the breweries that we have Downtown. I love our arts community. I love all of the entrepreneurs, including the little businesses that we have and the big business that we have. There’s just a lot of local flavor in the heart of our city.

In 10 years, I just hope that we keep the momentum going that we have. I hope that we diversify a little more and learn to connect all of the different parts of the city to other parts. I just hope that we continue to grow and really own what we are versus what we think we should be or what we think other places are. I think that we’re on a really good path to really becoming what we’re supposed to be and I just hope we continue that.

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Peter Janssen

KMUW Listener and Proud Wichitan

The one best feature of the Wichita region is the people and the fact that it is an open and welcoming community. My big dream for the Wichita region in 10 years would be a thriving, diverse community while also maintaining our roots and the fact that we can still be a great place to raise a family based on the economy. We could also attract some new and larger businesses to help that support.

What would make me continue to live in the Wichita region 10 years from now would be that it is a diverse, thriving community and that future generations continue to bring energy to the community. I would also hope that Wichita is a diverse hometown, but offers everything that a large city would have to offer.

Kit Lambertz

Executive Director of Dear Neighbor Ministries and Stepstone

The one best feature of the Wichita region is the people, because they have a heart. People generally care about each other and I think that there is a lot of energy in this town and I find that very exciting. I would love for us to have an economy that is really healthy and diverse and that there are opportunities for everybody.

I will want to continue to live in the Wichita region if the region continues to grow to be a place for families and individuals to feel cared about and loved and have an opportunity to give back. Everybody needs to give, because we all have a need.