South KC Perspective
City Manager Announces First Bond Projects
135th Street Not on Immediate List
By John Sharp
City Manager Troy Schulte has announced his recommendations for the first year’s “shovel ready” capital improvement projects to be funded from $800 million in general obligation bonds to be issued over a 20-year period that were approved by Kansas City voters April 4.
South Kansas City projects included in the initial list of $40 million in expenditures include $3.4 million for complete reconstruction of Wornall Rd. from 85th St. to 89th St., $2.25 million to reconstruct “livable streets” in the Marlborough community from Prospect to Troost, $1.1 million for right of way acquisition to construct a levee and flood wall to protect the Swope Park Industrial Area around 75th Ter. east of Cleveland, $7 million as the first of two equal allocations to construct a new city animal shelter in Swope Park at Elmwood and Gregory Blvd. that will be partially funded by private sources, $.75 million to restore the Delbert Haff fountain along E. Meyer Blvd., and $1.1 million for the first phase of accessibility improvements at Starlight Theatre to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Also included in the initial project list is $6 million to eliminate the backlog in spot sidewalk repairs that existed before the bonds passed and $1.5 million to construct approximately 333 ADA compliant curb ramps, a program that Schulte said would continue for four years.
A “shovel ready” project that I had hoped would be funded in the first year of the bond program is the third and final phase of 135th St. improvements from Wornall Rd. to Inverness Dr.
Schulte told me that he plans to recommend bond funding for that project in the second
year of the program so that $1 million in citywide capital improvements sales tax funds that has already been recommended for that project in fiscal year 2018-19 by the Public Improvements Advisory Committee (PIAC) that I serve on could be used to pay part of the costs. That funding was approved by the City Council as part of the city’s 5-year capital improvements plan in the 2017-18 city budget, as was $500,000 in 6th District PIAC funds for the project in fiscal year 2017-18.
Mayor Pro Tem Scott Wagner told me he expects a measure will be introduced at the May 4 session of the City Council to approve the manager’s recommendations, and that he expects it will be assigned to the Finance & Governance Committee that he chairs to be considered the following week.
Center Point Holds Contamination Clean Up Public Meeting
A public meeting to learn about CenterPoint Properties’ plans to clean up contamination at the vacant Bannister Federal Complex will be hosted by the company from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 11, at the Center High School cafeteria.
A company notice to south Kansas City residents said the meeting is designed to allow residents to learn about its “30-month independent investigation of contamination” at the site and its specific proposals for a multi-year environmental clean-up of the facility that it hopes to begin in the fall of 2017.
CenterPoint is the designated redeveloper for the site and is awaiting federal approval to transfer ownership to it and to pay it for demolition and clean-up.
The notice said persons attending will get to hear the findings from experts that investigated environmental contamination at the site, “…and most importantly, what we propose to do over the next four years to clean up the legacy contamination and transform this 225-acre property for the future.”
At an April 11 public meeting CenterPoint hosted on its demolition safety plan for the complex, an official for its demolition contractor said his firm was allowed to conduct an invasive and intensive inspection of buildings on the site involving hundreds of samples which turned up asbestos, beryllium, contaminated paint, PCBs and other regulated wastes.
Precautions to assure the surrounding community won’t experience any health hazards from the demolition also were discussed in detail at that meeting.
The notice said the company’s clean-up plans for the complex have received a thorough review from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) which must approve the plans before work can start.
DNR will host its own public meeting and public hearing to discuss modifying the hazardous waste permit given to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the General Services Administration (GSA) for dealing with soil and groundwater contamination at the site including a proposed final remedy. The modification will go into effect only if ownership of the site is transferred.
The DNR public meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 17, at the Center High School cafeteria followed by a public hearing at 6:30.
The draft permit modification and proposed final remedy will be discussed at the meeting, and representatives of DOE will be present to discuss the transfer process. Persons may enter their comments about the draft permit modification and/or the proposed final remedy into the official record at the hearing.
The draft permit modification and proposed final remedy are expected to be available for public comment on DNR’s website and at the Blue Ridge Branch of the Mid-Continent Public Library the first week of May. Once they are available there will be a 45-day public comment period.
“All public comments received in writing and comments received during the public hearing will be responded to and may result in further modification to the draft permit,” said Don Dicks, project manager in the permits section of DNR’s hazardous waste program.
A fourth public meeting to discuss the future of the complex will be hosted by CenterPoint, probably in June, according to Kevin Breslin, an attorney and development advisor for the firm.
The company previously has stated it intends to construct about 1.8 million square feet of distribution and industrial facilities on the site once demolition and clean-up is complete, with the possibility of commercial and retail facilities outside the flood wall near the intersection of Bannister Rd. and Troost.
“The ultimate goal of our work is to perform a safe and effective clean-up of the Bannister Complex, and bring new vitality and jobs through future development once the clean-up work is complete,” the notice said.
SKCA Awards Breakfast
Persons may still purchase tickets for the Second Annual South Kansas City Alliance (SKCA) Awards Breakfast at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 30, at the Avila University Athletic Pavilion.
The nine award categories honor persons and organizations that have made significant contributions to improve south Kansas City.
I chair the SKCA Awards Committee, and it’s really tough to decide who to honor since there are so many of our neighbors who have volunteered literally thousands of hours to improve their neighborhoods and our community, but whose efforts often have been overlooked.
There also are numerous volunteer-led organizations that have made a real impact in improving our community, plus many businesses that make a point of giving back to the community they serve. And we shouldn’t forget the government employees who go beyond their expected duties to make south Kansas City a better place to live and work.
This year’s awards include the Alvin Brooks Lifetime Service Award given to an individual who has provided a lifetime of service to improving south Kansas City or to a south Kansas City resident who has provided similar service to the city or metropolitan area.
The Judy Swope Good Neighbor Award is given to a person who has provided a high level of service to his or her south Kansas City neighborhood over an extended period.
A new award this year is the Outstanding Young Achiever Award given to a student or young adult who has provided outstanding service to the community.
Awards also are given to a neighborhood organization or homes association that has not only provided a high level of service to its residents but also has contributed to improving south Kansas City, and to a company that has demonstrated good corporate citizenship by giving back to our community beyond just creating jobs and investing in our area. An award is given to an educational program that has achieved exceptional results in improving student motivation and achievement.
Other categories include awards for outstanding community service, outstanding government service and outstanding public safety service.
Multiple honorees are expected in most of these categories.
Tickets for the hot breakfast buffet are $25 or only $180 for a table of eight. Tickets may be purchased securely online at www.SKCAlliance.org or by mailing a check with the names of attendees to SKCA treasurer Deborah Washam at 9409 Grandview Rd., KCMO 64132.
Last year’s event drew about 250 attendees which caused it to be moved to a larger venue to accommodate the crowd, but it still filled every table.
MMC Contracts is one of three south Kansas City companies chosen for a Cornerstone Award. The other two include Fishtech and Burns & McDonnell.
Cornerstone Award Winners
Three south Kansas City companies were among the ten winners selected from among 29 finalists by the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City (EDCKC) for this year’s Cornerstone Awards that recognize companies and projects that have helped strengthen Kansas City’s economy.
Burns & McDonnell – a full service engineering, architectural and construction company – was honored for its world headquarters expansion, a new 310,000 square foot, 4-story building at 9450 Ward Pkwy., with an adjoining 885-space, 5-level garage. The EDCKC award announcement noted the project, a partnership with VanTrust Real Estate, cost almost $85 million and included a 20,000 square foot child care center that focuses on science, technology, engineering and math education and can serve up to 144 preschool-aged children.
Fishtech – a cloud-era security company – received the award for its new custom designed 20,000 square foot, 2-story headquarters at 13333 Holmes Rd. in Martin City. The EDCKC announcement said this was a $10.2 million project, and that Fishtech expects to add more than 45 jobs at this location and can accommodate up to 100 employees there as growth demands.
MMC Contractors – another Martin City firm which specializes in large, complex mechanical projects – was recognized for its 33,500 square foot expansion connected to its 42,000 square foot original building at 13800 Wyandotte. The EDCKC announcement said the firm has already filled 15 positions since completing the expansion and plans to hire more employees in all departments.
The awards will be presented on Tuesday, May 9, at a reception at Union Station.
School Board Vacancies
Persons wishing to be considered for appointment to one of two vacancies on the Hickman Mills C-1 Board of Education must hand deliver letters of interest to the district by 4:30 p.m. Friday, May 19.
The letters must include a statement of qualifications, reason for wanting to be on the board and the applicant’s mailing and email addresses and telephone number(s). They need to be delivered to the Hickman Mills C-1 School District Administration Center, 9000 Old Santa Fe Rd., Kansas City, MO 64138, Attention: Donna Peyton.
The appointments will fill the vacancies created by the recent resignations of Darrell Curls and Byron Townsend and be for an interim period until the next scheduled school board election in April 2018.
Interested persons may call Donna Peyton, Board of Education secretary, at 816-316-7001 for more information.
Portions of the district do extend to near the Martin City area. One portion runs south from Martha Truman Rd. to a little north of Blue Ridge Blvd. and from a little east of Holmes Rd. to the western Grandview city limits. Another portion runs south from Red Bridge Rd. to Martha Truman Rd. and west to a little west of Blue River Rd.