Council approves Old Town ordinance change, library design funding

Published On: May 13 2014 02:45:42 PM CDT   Updated On: May 13 2014 05:20:13 PM CDT

The Wichita City Council voted 7-0 to designate Old Town an "Entertainment District."

The new ordinance will define specifics of closing time as well as ban loitering outside entertainment establishments 11 p.m. - 3 a.m. Under the new ordinance, violators could face higher fines or jail time.

Habitual offenders can also be  "mapped out" of an area permanently. The city's legal department says overall crime in Old Town has decreased, but closing time is still a period that sees more crime.

"This is a really good moment for Old Town to continue to grow and to become one of the most vibrant hubs for entertainment and business," said Old Town Association President Jason Van Sickle.

With the new classification of Old Town as an Entertainment District, Police can now offer citations distinct to the area that include:

  • Assault and Battery
  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Drug Offenses
  • Criminal Damage to Property
  • Criminal Trespass
  • Obstruction of Legal Duty
  • Unlawful Use of Weapon
  • Loitering
  • Failure to Vacate Premises of Entertainment Establishment
  • Loitering at Entertainment Establishments
  • Tampering with an Automobile
  • Larceny

"With them coming across with a minimum $500 fine, that takes a bite out of anyone's budget," said Wichita Police Officer Larry Carlson. "That will be a very good thing for this area."

You can also find the list of offenses on the City's website.

The council also voted in favor of funding design plans for a new central library.

In the 5-2 vote today they approved to pay for design plans, estimated to cost around $500 thousand. The entire project, which has not been voted on yet, will have a closer to $30 million price tag.

The vote today allows the project to move forward but will still need to decide how the city will pay for the allocated funds. The design group says the central library project is still open to all options at a workshop for the city today. 

The group says the goal of the project is to, "create a library for the 21st century." Some council members say the library is a needed project, others are concerned about the price tag.