I did not support Waterwalk. The concept of creating anything resembling a shopping center downtown was absolute folly. When the best anchor tenant was Gander Mountain that pretty much confirmed my opinion that no one was going to go downtown to go to a shopping center. Towne West was already struggling when WaterWalk went in.
You want a convention center? Plop it down where Naftzger Park is. Put in a casino nearby. Cut deals with airlines for schedules and rates. Close that part of Douglas when there's a convention in town. Don't be real strict on enforcing prostitution laws in Old Town for the upper tier of hookers. We'd also need a couple of high-end gentlemen's clubs near the Convention Center. I don't think people go to conventions to enjoy the green spaces and look at the river when they're not in meetings. Ever wonder why Vegas is so incredibly popular for conventions? Legalize cannabis. Give Wichita the widest variety of attractions for conventions it can possibly have. Do what it takes to increase demand before dropping a billion bucks to see how that works.
A big difference in the spending I would support and the spending the city tends to do is that I am willing to support things that make Wichita a better community. The projects the city tends to want provide profits to developers, and the city has a well-established list of developers who earn a lot of money off of projects like the failed Waterwalk, and the (unlikely to succeed) baseball stadium.
The project we are discussing would produce about $120 million for the developers of the projects, and we would still have understaffed police, underpaid civil servants, and crowded classrooms.