Happy In Bag

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

We're Not Wichita!

Congratulations, Kansas City- we won’t become Wichita for at least 25 years.

I was in Wichita, Kansas City’s would-be doppelganger, last weekend. It was a drag.

I spent an evening in Old Town, Wichita’s new downtown entertainment district. This is the redevelopment’s hub. Note that this is not an artist's rendering; I snapped this picture at 5pm on a beautiful Saturday. It was a ghost town. And it was easy to see why. Aside from a happening bar adjacent to a gas station, the area’s club, restaurant and shopping options are bleak.

Without careful planning and real-world citizen guidance, I fear that this dreary scene may foreshadow Kansas City’s Power & Light entertainment district. Clearly, Old Town doesn’t offer locals anything they need or can’t get elsewhere.

The corridor’s anchor is the Warren Theatre, a locally owned movie chain reputed to offer one of the finest movie-going experiences in the world. In-seat food and beverage service is enabled by very wide aisles. Pretty cool. The food comes straight from microwaves, but the popcorn is good and adult beverages are available. The Old Town outlet also offers a sports bar with arena seating. It has the biggest television screen I’ve ever seen.

But thanks to yesterday’s vote, I don’t need to escape reality in a darkened cinema. And I don’t need to look to Omaha or Wichita for my entertainment options.


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