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WICHITA, Kan. – Aug. 22, 2018 – Downtown Wichita development plans got a major boost today thanks to a $1.4 million commitment from Evergy, which is Westar Energy’s parent company, to transform Naftzger Park. TGC Development Group will host a groundbreaking for the project at 10:30 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 23, at 698 E. Williams St.
Evergy was formed when Westar Energy and Great Plains Energy, which operates KCP&L, merged in June.
“We brought together two companies with strong ties and commitments to their communities to form a leading, locally controlled energy company,” said Terry Bassham, Evergy president and CEO. “From employees volunteering their time and talents to corporate giving, we are committed to building on the reputations of our legacy companies.
“This park is going to provide a central gathering point for Wichitans and visitors to come together downtown,” Bassham said. “Public-private partnerships and community leadership are vital to thriving communities. We are excited to be a part of Wichita’s downtown redevelopment and growth.”
Evergy is proud to work with the project’s collaborators, including the City of Wichita, City of Wichita Parks and Recreation Department, TGC Development Group and Downtown Wichita.
“I’d like to thank Westar for embodying what it means to be an excellent community partner,” said Mayor Jeff Longwell. “They’re spreading positive energy throughout our city and championing our crucial quality of life initiatives.”
The redesign of Naftzger Park is part of the overall public-private Spaghetti Works redevelopment plan. Plans include new retail, office and residential space as part of TGC Development Group’s investment. The City of Wichita, with architectural partners SWA Balsley, led a community input process earlier this year to reimagine the underutilized Naftzger Park.
“When Project Downtown was adopted in 2010, Spaghetti Works and Naftzger Park were identified as a prominent location for downtown’s development. Fast-forward eight years and the vision set forth in the plan is becoming a reality thanks to great community partners like Evergy and over $400 million of investment along Douglas Avenue,” said Jason Gregory, executive vice president of Downtown Wichita.
In addition to completing the park immediately, Evergy’s commitment provides additional design and programming elements including a video board, sound system and iconic stage, all which will allow robust programming for concerts, sporting events and movie nights for the community.
“Investing in ourselves and having private-sector companies like Evergy commit to projects like Naftzger Park demonstrates our ability to achieve an aspirational vision and build a distinctive region for talent,” said Jeff Fluhr, president of the Greater Wichita Partnership.
Evergy, Inc. (NYSE: EVRG), through its operating subsidiaries, Kansas City Power & Light Company (KCP&L) and Westar Energy, Inc, provides clean, safe and reliable energy to 1.6 million customers in Kansas and Missouri. The 2018 combination of KCP&L and Westar Energy to form Evergy created a leading energy company that provides value to shareholders and a stronger company for customers.
Evergy’s mission is to empower a better future. Today, half the power supplied to homes and businesses by Evergy comes from emission-free sources, creating more reliable energy with less impact to the environment. We will continue to innovate and adopt new technologies that give our customers better ways to manage their energy use.
For more information about Evergy, Inc., visit us at www.evergyinc.com.
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