Knight Foundation Grant will transform “The Hole” on Douglas Avenue

Grant opportunity will transform eyesore and change perceptions

Downtowns provide the distinctive fabric of a community. They provide the sense of place needed to retain talent and promote civic engagement. As Project Downtown: The Master Plan for Wichita continues to provide a blueprint for development; continued opportunities must be taken to ensure that the spirit of that plan is embedded in future developments.

The WDDC received a grant from the Knight Foundation Fund of the Wichita Community Foundation to construct a Pop-Up Urban Park in “The Hole” on Douglas Avenue. This grant provides the resources to transform and activate an eyesore in the core of our City. Recently, the WDDC hosted a design charrette, which engaged Kansas State University design students along with local design professionals, developers, business owners and residents to further develop the plan for the Pop-Up Urban Park.

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Below you will find more information regarding various aspects of the grant project.

Background & Existing Conditions 

The community is left with "The Hole" on Douglas

“The Hole” on Douglas (the site for the propsed Pop-Up Urban Park), located on the South side of Douglas Avenue between Main and Market, is currently not one of Downtown’s most welcoming destinations. “The Hole” came into existence in 2007, when redevelopment plans by the prior owner fell through. The buildings which once provided an urban edge for Douglas Avenue are now gone and the community has been left with the remaining hole on Douglas since. 

A local development team, Bokeh Development, now owns “The Hole,” as well as both buildings immediately adjacent, the Caldwell Murdock Building to the West and Woolf Bros. Building to the East. In the last five years, Bokeh Development has successfully completed the Zelman Lofts, the Renfro and The LUX. These new projects contribute 115 new residential units, 210,000 SF of commercial space in Downtown and accomplish the vision set forth in the Master Plan.

View photos of the existing conditions by clicking on the photo above or the “Photos” tab.

The Project & Partnerships 

The Pop-Up Urban Park will transform “The Hole” on Douglas Avenue 

Like many Downtown development projects, there are numerous pieces that must fall into place in order to realize a project, or  in this case, fill in “The Hole.” In the interim, opportunity lies in activating the space to reenergize this area and change the community’s perception regarding this site. Through the recent grant from the Knight Foundation of the Wichita Community Foundation a temporary Pop-Up Urban Park will be constructed along the Douglas Avenue frontage of this site, which will give vibrancy and add activity to the area. The project consists of filling in “The Hole,” with excess fill material (dirt) from the nearby development project on the Arkansas River - River Vista. After “The Hole” is filled and the pop-up park is complete, the site will come to life with the addition of colorful furnishings, planters with trees for shade and string lights for ambiance at night. The preliminary design for the Pop-Up Urban Park is conceptual and the WDDC will be working with stakeholders in the coming months to finalize the plans. 

Programming Opportunities

A vibrant, urban setting will appeal to office workers and the entire community

Transforming this eyesore into a community gathering space will produce many opportunities for civic engagement. The proposed addition of food trucks at the site will provide a vibrant, urban lunch setting for Downtown workers. Food trucks will provide a destination for people with a variety of great food choices. The temporary park also provides the opportunity to introduce additional programming such as bands/music and outdoor games if the completed project warrants it.

Conclusion

The completion of the Pop-Up Urban Park will create a unique place where people in the community can interact and connect. The site will give nearby office workers and opportunity to walk to lunch, energizing the sidewalk and increasing pedestrian activity in Downtown. It will also spark a change in perception that is critical to the site’s future success and redevelopment potential for the surrounding area.

Downtown Wichita Pop-Up Urban Park
Downtown Wichita Pop-Up Urban Park
Downtown Wichita Pop-Up Urban Park
Pop-Up Urban Park Grand Opening
Pop-Up Urban Park Grand Opening
Pop-Up Urban Park Grand Opening
Pop-Up Urban Park Grand Opening
Pop-Up Urban Park Grand Opening
Pop-Up Urban Park Grand Opening
Pop-Up Urban Park Grand Opening
Pop-Up Urban Park Filling "The Hole"
Pop-Up Urban Park Filling "The Hole"
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