The city of Wichita is spending $75 million on a new baseball stadium to replace Lawrence Dumont and subsidize an adjacent for-profit development, and that’s creating serious parking problems for other local businesses in the Delano neighborhood.
At the June 6th Metro Area Planning Commission meeting, Lynne Ziegler spoke about how the lack of parking is impacting the family business. Ziegler and her husband own a hair salon on West Douglas in the Delano district. According to her, parking in Delano is getting worse.
“I want to know where you are going to put more parking,” says Ziegler. “During the day, I don’t know what we are supposed to do.”
The hair salon is one of the few businesses in town that has a parking lot behind the building, but the stadium construction eliminated daytime parking and now customers of other Delano businesses take those spaces even though signs are posted.
“If it keeps getting worse, I’m going to take my little lounge chair down there, and I will sit there all afternoon or all day with my magazines and books, and when they park there I will call the police,” Ziegler.
She may have to sit in the lounge chair for a while. The city has no current plan to fix parking in the Delano district. On June 10th the latest draft of the Ballpark Village Master Plan was released by the city of Wichita. In it, there is no concrete plan to build new parking, much less pay for new parking.
Scott Knebel speaking at the MAPC, noted two things are going on in the city to address parking potentially.
“The city is undertaking a study of downtown parking including Delano, and that is going to be coming out, I believe in July, with some recommendations on how to address the parking both in downtown and in Delano,” said Knebel. “These are long-range recommendations. They are not quick fixes.”
According to Ziegler, nothing is being done to make parking easier.
“What’s happened is you guys took the parking out for Lawrence Dumont Stadium, and all of a sudden everyone is panicking.”
Customers to the restaurants and shops in Delano usually could find street parking or park at the stadium if they were visiting businesses on the eastern end of Delano. With the stadium parking gone, nothing has been done to address the vacuum.
“I want to know where you are going to put more parking,” says Ziegler.
The city, according to Knebel, wants to know as well, but it has to fit in the Delano Neighborhood Plan.
“It is looking to provide some district-wide parking at the Lawrence Dumont Site.”
According to the Ballpark Village Masterplan draft, “Ballpark Village parking strategy includes the possible construction of public parking.”
That is to say, the $75 million to build the stadium did not include parking.
The land in the draft that is earmarked to by future parking is currently privately owned. The old parking lot to the west of the stadium is part of the new stadium site. The city does not own the parking lot outlined in green in the above rendering, but the city is already planning to use it — no word on the potential cost.
For now, Ziegler wants to run the family business.
“I don’t know what to do except, man, parking down there is bad.”