The City of Wichita’s 2022 budget plan includes a laundry list of improvements, including a near-complete renovation of McAdams Recreation Center. The budget, approved by the City Council during their August 24 meeting, includes $10 million for the center’s renovation.
In partnership with Fidelity Bank, The renovation will include a 25,000 square feet addition to the center, with an industrial kitchen that honors former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer and his passionate love for barbequing with an expanded dining/meeting area, and a dedicated fitness/dance room.
The expanded center will also include 80+ new parking spots and opportunities for youth learning programs offered in conjunction with Wichita State Innovation Campus programs and USD 259. The southeast section of building would include a new outdoor, permanent stage for park programming and/or community events.
“We will, of course, be doing public outreach and work with the community on our proposed plans. The recreation center has always been a gathering space for District 1, and we want to help elevate it to the current needs and desires of residents and make it a destination,” said Vice-Mayor Brandon Johnson. “100% of this project will be financed thanks to a generous offer from Mr. Aaron Bastian and Fidelity Bank to bring this opportunity to life in our community. The funds are being loaned at no interest to make this happen.”
So far, the renovation plan does not call for an improvement to the park’s senior center, but there have been some discussions about it.
After speaking with Mayor Brewer and community members, Vice-Mayor Johnson had been working on plans to renovate the recreation center, but before this year had not been able to gain much support for the project from other council members.
Last year, following the George Floyd murder, businesses leaders were looking for ways to impact, and Johnson received a call from Fidelity Bank. He told them he’d love to see a brand new recreation center, or at least an expansion of the existing center at McAdams Park.
“As soon as we confirmed that that was a real opportunity, we started meeting internally about it,” said Johnson.
The Parks and Recreation 2022 Capital Improvements budget of $17.4 million dollars identifies $7.4 million coming from general obligation and the $10,000,000 for the McAdams renovation project coming from “other” sources. How much of that “other” money is from Fidelity Bank is not clear, but certainly, the project is going forward thanks to investments from outside revenue sources.
The City Council was scheduled to vote on renaming the renovated center after Mayor Brewer at their August 24 meeting. However, after facing opposition from the community, they postponed the decision until September 21 to allow more time for the Brewer family to consider the idea and hear from community members.
“I think once people see all of the renovations, it’ll be different,” said Johnson. “There were a few people that didn’t want to see McAdams pool changed to McAfee, but I think for the new generation and young people being able to see these names and then learn the full history will be beneficial.”
So far, there is not a timetable for the completion of the renovation project.