Additional parking, including a garage and surface lots, could be added to plans for the upcoming Wichita ballpark that will house the relocating New Orleans Baby Cakes (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League).
Parking has been a concern thus far for Wichita residents in the planning of the $75 million ballpark, which is set to open for the 2020 season and anchor a larger redevelopment initiative in the area. Located at the former site of Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, the new ballpark will have a different footprint than its predecessor, and current plans will result in a drastic reduction of parking spaces available in the surrounding surface lot.
Thus far, city officials have sought to make the area that includes the ballpark site and parcels eyed for redevelopment more pedestrian friendly while considering how on-site spaces and existing parking could serve the ballpark, but additional spaces could be worked into the plans. Under the concept that is being floated, a large parking garage would be constructed in the mixed-use development planned to be north of the ballpark and double as a transit center. Additional surface parking, meanwhile, would take the place of nearby housing.
Plenty of questions, including how to fund the parking, still have to be answered, and the plans would have receive proper approval. More from the Wichita Eagle:
The garage would be located north of the ballpark on the Riverfront Village site, where developers plan to build offices, housing, retail stores and a hotel on land now occupied by the Metropolitan Baptist Church. It would also serve as a place where people could catch buses, said Scott Knebel, planning manager for the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission….
In the neighborhood recently bought out by a Riverfront Village developer immediately west of the stadium, houses would be flattened to make room for two surface parking lots.
The plan would require approval by the Wichita City Council and Sedgwick County Commission as part of the Ballpark Village Master Plan. Additional details are expected to be released Tuesday.
It’s not clear how the new parking would be paid for, Knebel said.
Construction on the ballpark is underway, with a goal of opening it in time for the 2020 season. When the franchise debuts the new ballpark, it will mark the first time that Wichita has an affiliated Minor League Baseball team of its own since the Wichita Wranglers (Class AA; Texas League) relocated to Springdale, AR after the 2007 season to become the Northwest Arkansas Naturals.
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