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The old library in downtown Wichita has been vandalized


Monday, February 13, 2023, 10:35 pm CST

WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) – It’s where thousands of people in Sedgwick County have gone to get their COVID vaccines. But now it has become a target of vandalism. Damage was done to several windows in the downtown library over the weekend.

The damage looks like a rock or something was thrown through a window. The others are blocked. But the city says it will take steps to protect this site. And that he’s looking further down the road for what’s going here next.

“That looks like a lot of damage,” said Valley Center resident Halle Brittain.

Five windows in the Old Library have been replaced with clapboards. Another, with a hole and cracks, was taped up. Residents say it’s a steady target.

“If there’s nothing they’re going to keep vandalizing it because it’s an empty building and they know it’s there,” said Lidia Baeza, a Wichita resident.

The Wichita Police Department says it will take steps to prevent this type of damage from happening again. Captain Santiago Hungria made this statement, saying in part:

“We are putting together a plan to increase the safety of the area and also to increase the hot crew presence around the building to assist the homeless residents and hopefully reduce the increase in damage we are seeing to the property.”

For more than a year, the old downtown library was used for a mass COVID vaccination clinic. However, it has been vacant since the clinic closed last April. People we spoke to say there are many things the city could do with the building.

“I think they should be able to do something for the homeless down here. It’s empty. There should be somewhere to sleep in the cold. Or even the extreme heat we have here in Kansas,” Baeza said.

“It definitely could be used as a homeless shelter or even a sort of educational building to help fill our society and help us move forward in a better way,” Brittain said.

And, the city says, it is now trying to figure out the future of this building.

“The staff have been working on this since last fall, when we issued a request for a quote for future use of the facility and listened to feedback from a variety of arts and cultural organizations and non-profits,” said spokeswoman Megan Lovely .

Council also adds that an RFP regarding the future use of the building will be issued in the coming weeks.

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