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Susan and David from Downtown Wichita on Vimeo.

Susan and David
Downtown Residents

Moving from 20 rural acres to 1,500 square feet at the heart of Downtown sounded daunting when it was still just a decision to make, but four years later, Susan and David Cohrs are happy advocates for their lifestyle switch.

“We said if we couldn’t mow 20 acres, we weren’t going to mow at all,” Susan said. “I thought the transition to Downtown would be a close second to life on the farm, but it’s been surprisingly ideal.”

Although the Cohrs were initially exploring several districts in Kansas City as well as Downtown Wichita, proximity to family was a deciding factor in choosing between similar urban experiences.

“I’m born and bred in west Wichita, my husband is a retired Wichita police officer. My grandfather was a police officer here in the 1950s, and I remember it was always a fancy urban place,” Susan said. “We needed to stay close for our kids and grandkids to feel like they were still coming home.”

The Cohrs initially rented at the heart of Old Town, exploring surrounding neighborhoods on foot to get a feel for their new lifestyle.

“I was really impressed,” Susan said. “We had a balcony and Old Town was just starting to have more street performers, so we could enjoy live entertainment from our apartment. We got out every weekend to explore.”

Eight months later, the Cohrs bought a condo at the WaterWalk and settled fully into routines Downtown. After finding a new space that feels like home, Susan has dedicated herself to championing all the city has to offer. Taking a job at Visit Wichita — a local resource for tourism and city-wide promotions — has helped Susan connect with residents and visitors looking to make the most of their experience in Wichita.

“Life Downtown is just so easy,” Susan said. “We moved all our personal business within walking distance, or take the free Q-line trolley for dinner, drinks and shows. Now my daughter who lives in Beverly Hills calls to find out who’s playing at INTRUST Bank Arena when she comes back to town.”

For Susan, downsizing from farm life helped clarify the essential elements of a good life.

“The space exchange really concerned me at first,” Susan said. “But it was actually really freeing. I had to have my green space — we have a balcony so I can be outside with my coffee in the morning and my wine in the evening. Instead of barn swallows we have river swallows that live under the bridge, and we’ve discovered the river trails, Tallgrass Film Festival — all these things I didn’t know about before I lived Downtown. I like to say my condo is my master suite. Downtown and Old Town are the living room.”

For Susan, finding a new way of life Downtown connects her to the unique history and vibrant future of Wichita’s core.

“I walked these streets to the Macy’s tea room with my grandparents in the late 60s and early 70s, and I can remember it being a vibrant Downtown then,” Susan said. “That the people of my hometown were interested enough to bring the city’s core back to life is exciting to me.”

Sharing her favorite spaces with her grandchildren and gladly advocating for her city, Susan exemplifies the energy that drew her Downtown.

“There’s just such vibrancy here,” Susan said. “We take my grandson to Thunder hockey games, my granddaughter is going to see Carrie Underwood for her birthday, they bring their bikes when they visit and we bike along the river. I’m doing something I love, everything has just fallen into place and it’s still exciting.