By Kathy Lefler/Communications and Marketing manager
Have you ever driven down 9th Street between Hillside and I-135? I hadn’t before I started working at Wichita Habitat for Humanity four years ago. Now I go up and down 9th Street two or three times a week as I visit our Rock the Block revitalization neighborhood to take photos and meet volunteers and partner families as they build Habitat homes. Until recently, 9th Street was a pretty bumpy and unremarkable ride. Parts of the street were unevenly paved with bricks that tested my car’s shock absorbers. But, all that – and more – has changed with the completion of a major project that includes street improvements, pedestrian upgrades and the addition of incredible, eye-catching art, including Adinkra sidewalk panels representing community values. It creates a very inviting entrance to the Rock the Block, as well.
You need to check it out! You can take a drive on your own or come by 9th Street this Saturday, Aug. 31, for a dedication ceremony and celebration. While you’re in the neighborhood, please head down to the 1300 block of Estelle Street and you can see two Wichita Habitat homes that are under construction. Our other Habitat homes are on Poplar and Green streets. If you’re curious and want to find out if you could own one of our affordable homes, check out the qualifications here.
“The completion of the 9th street project is a significant one for this community,” said City Councilmember Brandon Johnson who represents District 1, which includes 9th Street. “It has completely changed the streetscape of the neighborhood, re-ignited neighborhood pride, and elevated some of the cultural significance of this historic neighborhood.”
But, this was not just a street paving project. It engaged more than 100 community members. They shared their vision for this street by helping with painting and tiling. They also collaborated with local artist Ellamonique Baccus to create a mural.
Our city is experiencing many incredible improvements right now and this is one more to celebrate!
When: Saturday, Aug. 31, at 10 a.m.
Where: 9th street and Minnesota intersection. In case of rain, the ceremony will be held at the Health Department, 1900 E. 9th St.
The celebration continues: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Urban League of Kansas. Lunch provided. DJ Slim. Games. Prizes.
9th Street will be closed east of I-135. parking access available at 9th street and Piatt.