This article was originally published by the Wichita Business Journal newspaper on March 26, 2018

Wichita Downtown Neighborhood Association meeting to touch on safety issues

By Bryan Horwath

After wrapping up his time as president of the Old Town Association, Jason Van Sickle says he wants to apply some lessons he learned to another downtown nonprofit organization.

Van Sickle tells the WBJ that he's seeing a lot of interest especially from businesses in the Downtown Wichita Neighborhood Association.

"There are over 100 members now," Van Sickle says. "There's been a tremendous amount of interest and it doesn't cost anything to join the association. There's no obligation."

Debra Fraser took over the role this year after Van Sickle reached his term limit Van Sickle noticed some of the same concerns that have been brought up by members of the neighborhood association.

Safety is one of those concerns, which is one reason why the neighborhood association is having a meeting Wednesday at the Garvey Center to discuss the topic.

"For the past four or five years, I was able to build some relationships with the police department and some people in the nonprofit sector," Van Sickle says. "I hear some of the same things now from neighborhood association people that I heard while president of the Old Town Association."

"People want to know what they can do to improve safety and security. Downtown Wichita isn't an unsafe area, but there are issues with things like cars being broken into and vagrancy, things like that."

Van Sickle, a Wichita developer who remains on the Old Town Association board, says Wednesday's meeting will likely be packed. Van Sickle got the idea to start the downtown association which includes the Delano, Commerce Street, Douglas Design District and Old Town neighborhoods last year.