Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Urban sprawl in West Wichita continues—clutter, clutter and more clutter

By SJ Otto
It seems like every Summer I write about urban sprawl and the lack of open spaces in my part of Sedgwick County. So why should this year be any different?
When I moved to Maize, KS almost 20 years ago, it was a lot like living in the country. There used to be an open field across the street from me. Maize Road went from my house, to a stop light south of me. From there Maize was a 55 mile per hour stretch of black top road that went through empty lots—wide open spaces with wheat, weeds or something else along the way to 21st Street. It was like most stretches of road in the country—wide open spaces and a few tree lines along the farmed areas.
Today there is a 40 mile per hour four lane road blacktop road lined with either strip malls, large superstores such as Menards, Sam's Club or Lowe's Home Improvement, or buildings still being built. It looks like there is a contest to see who can cram the most buildings on every single site along the road from 53 Street in Maize towards 21st Street.  
There are about four stoplights now. And I dread driving down to the corner of 21st and Maize where New Market Square, is a mega market that has lots of useless crap I will never want or use and where such mega-rip offs as Wal-Mart are located.
My front yard is about 1/4th gone. The once lazy road in front is now a busy street. The noise and light pollution are never ending.
Once empty spaces of wheat or prairie grass. Now just urban clutter.

There is a new plan for a park along the road were Cadillac lake[1] used to be. It sounds like a good idea.  
According to The Wichita Eagle:

Seeking to balance nature and commercial development in an ecologically sensitive area, the Wichita City Council reviewed plans this week for a $7.2 million wetland park to be built at Cadillac Lake in northwest Wichita.
The primary features of the park will be flood-proof galvanized steel boardwalks and wildlife observation stations modeled on the leaves of native lotus plants, said Hans Klein-Hewett, landscape architect with RDg Planning and Design, the company hired by the city to design the park.
The park is planned for a wetlands area near Maize Road and 29th Street North.
This all sounds great. At fist the city originally decided to move Cadillac Lake somewhere else, years ago, so the rush to develop all this land was not compromised by actual wildlife. The new plans look OK, but lets look at how the city did with Wichita's WaterWalk. It was suppose to give us something like they have in San Antonio, Texas, with all those neat canals and boats. After 15 years and $41 million in taxpayer subsidies to the WaterWalk, the city of Wichita has gotten no money from a profit-sharing agreement attached to the development deal. The canals aren't built. The developers just took a lot of city development money and they ran. So what if they do that out here? What if our water park is just one more city development rip off. Tax payers like me will get another area of blight to stare at.
This place already looks like clutter. There is nothing but strip malls  with large mega stores behind them. It looks like shit. A once beautiful country drive is now a cluttered clusterfuck of businesses and buildings of which most of them I will never make use of.
More clutter and traffic lights.

I live in a county where most of the people vote for knuckle headed backward people who haven't studied anything new on city development since the 1950s. They are stupid dolts who couldn't plan a modern city if their life depended on it.
So the rest of us pay. We have ugly over-development. The natural beauty of this land is being ruined by these stupid dolts.
I guess for now all I can do is just put up with it and hope they might actually do what they have promised to do with the Cadillac Lake Park. They might get it right for once in their lives. But I'm not holding my breath.
An endless stream of clutter.


The actual Cadillac Lake before it is gone- Last picture by KMUW.




[1] Cadillac Lake used to be a kind of swamp that was used by migratory birds. Ecologist over the years have tried to preserve this lake as it has been an important stop over point for migratory birds. There have always been the dolts who wanted to drain it and develop it for many decades. 

No comments: