Flentje, H. Edward; Rothe, Scott B.
March 1984
Public Administration Quarterly;Spring84, Vol. 8 Issue 1, p68
Academic Journal
This article examines the social, economic and political forces that reshaped development policy in the critical period of Wichita, Kansas's history during 1955 to 1963. Early signs of public disenchantment with the impacts of growth were demonstrated with the defeat of seven city referenda in the late 1940s. But these early warnings were mild precursors of reactions yet to come. To understand these reactions, it is useful to look at how Wichita had been responding to the major development issues of water supply, sewerage, and annexation. After commission-sponsored study and some delays, voters approved referenda in November 1956 to acquire the private water utility and to develop a new municipal water supply through city financial participation in a proposed federal reservoir. As the 1957 city elections drew near, bills were being introduced in the legislature to limit the city's annexation powers, and the city's actions were being challenged in court. Petitioners, from industrialists to suburban residents, were filling the commission chambers in protest. The annexation issue was ripe for exploitation. The water supply issue was essentially resolved during the 1959-1961 commission term and that federal sponsorship was secured but a few steps remained.


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