South KC Perspective
To Build or Not to Build, That Is the Question for KCI Airport
By John Sharp
Spokespersons from different sides of the ongoing debate on whether to build a new single terminal to replace the three existing terminals at KCI Airport will state their case at the Monday, July 10, meeting of the South Kansas City Alliance at 6 p.m. in the rear building of the South Patrol Police Station.
Scheduled speakers on behalf of a broad coalition of business and civic groups that have banded together to support the single terminal concept under the banner of “A Better KCI” are Joe Reardon, president and CEO of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, and Tim Cowden, president and CEO of the KC Area Development Council.
Other organizations participating in the coalition include the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City, the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, the Northland Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Platte County Economic Development Council and Visit KC.
Its literature states a new single terminal will be an economic driver for regional growth and jobs and will maintain Kansas City’s status as a major league city. It further states a new single terminal will lead to increased access and destinations, improved conveniences and amenities, and stronger security and technology, while being paid for by users of the airport.
City Councilwoman Teresa Loar is scheduled to give a different perspective on this issue. She wrote a guest column in The Kansas City Star newspaper earlier this month, asking, among other questions, “Why do we need a new airport when KCI is the most convenient in the world?”, “Why has renovation of the current terminals not been discussed more?”, “Why has the airport not been maintained over the past few years?” and “Why is Terminal A closed if the airlines need more room?”
Also scheduled to speak about future plans for KCI are Justin Meyer, deputy director of the city Aviation Department, and Mike Talboy, director of government affairs for Burns & McDonnell. That south Kansas City engineering firm has proposed a plan to design, build and privately finance a single terminal in partnership with local construction companies JE Dunn and McCownGordon, and Kansas City based Americo Life, an insurance group whose role will be to secure private financing for the billion dollar project.
Scheduled to speak on another project at the meeting, that unlike the proposed KCI terminal has no known opposition, is Darwin Pennye, the recently named director of the under construction Urban Youth Academy in the historic 18th & Vine district which will offer free, year-round baseball and softball instruction to young people from age 6 to 18.
This will be one of the first major speaking engagements in Kansas City for Pennye who moved to Kansas City from Texas following a lengthy career as a high school athletic director and coach. Pennye played five years of minor league baseball after being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1988.
The academy in Parade Park north of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is expected to serve 800 to 1,000 young persons a year once it is completed this fall. The project includes four tournament quality fields that have already been constructed and an indoor facility that will house a full-sized infield, batting cages, pitching tunnels and other training facilities, as well as classrooms.
Besides instruction in the sport, students attending the academy will be able to take advantage of tutoring, college prep and financial literacy classes, courses teaching math through the use of baseball statistics, internships and college and career fairs.
The academy, the 7th in the nation at the time of its announcement, was funded by the Kansas City Royals which will run it and pay its annual operating costs, Major League Baseball, the Major League Baseball Players Association and other donors.
It will partner with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City to support the local Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program which conducts many of its games in south Kansas City at Clark-Ketterman Athletic Field.
Being near the Baseball Museum and the former Paseo YMCA which is being renovated to house the Buck O’Neil Education and Research Center should make attending the academy even more attractive to area youth, particularly since the Museum on June 21 received a $1 million contribution split evenly by Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association.
The grant was announced at a press conference I attended at the Museum by Baseball Commissioner Robert Manfred, Jr., and Players Association Executive Director Tony Clark. A joint news release said the grant will strive to inspire future generations of minority youth to play baseball by helping to ensure the Museum’s sustainability as the preservationists of the history of the Negro Leagues as well as the memory and legacies of those who played.
“We can’t allow their story to die when the last player leaves the earth,” said Museum President Bob Kendrick.
Kendrick told me the funds would be used to upgrade exhibits and support museum programming, technology enhancements and expanded operations such as the Education and Research Center.
Crime Prevention tips and information about other public safety programs will be featured at a public meeting sponsored by the Kansas City Police Department at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 28, at Evangel Church, 1414 E. 103rd St., which is co-sponsored by the South Kansas City Alliance (SKCA) and the church.
Mayor Sly James, City Manager Troy Schulte, Interim Police Chief David Zimmerman, South Patrol Commander Major Louis Perez and other police commanders are scheduled to attend the meeting and then go door-to-door starting about 7 p.m. to talk to south Kansas City residents about starting block watches and other actions they can take to prevent crime.
There will be many Police Department displays at the church for adults and children, and several police officers will be present to provide more in-depth crime prevention information. Resource tables will have information relating to home and personal safety, how to establish block watches and neighborhood associations, and what resources are available for neighborhoods.
The church is on the north side of I-435 east of Holmes Rd. Persons coming from the west should take Holmes to 101st Ter., turn east and follow the curving street to 103rd St and then turn left to the church. Those coming from the east should take I-435 to the 103rd St. exit and go straight across the railroad tracks to the church.
Zimmerman spoke to the SKCA June 12 about the significant increase in homicides and other violent crime in Kansas City this year and said that day marked the first time the department’s biweekly Incident Review/Information Sharing meetings focused solely on violent crime, which he said would continue.
A week after that he wrote in his chief’s blog that the department had begun to deploy additional officers from some of its more flexible units such as the Traffic Division to proactively patrol four relatively small geographic areas experiencing high rates of violent crime.
“I want to be clear this is NOT a zero-tolerance initiative,” Zimmerman said in his blog. “I want these officers to build relationships with the residents and deter violent crime, not stop and cite law-abiding citizens for minor infractions.”
St. Joseph Awards
St. Joseph Medical Center recently received two awards from the American Heart Association (AHA) for its treatment of patients who have suffered severe heart attacks.
St. Joseph received the Mission: Lifeline Silver Receiving Quality Achievement Award for implementing specific quality improvement measures outlined by the AHA to promptly and appropriately treat patients who have experienced a severe heart attack caused by the complete blockage of a major artery to the heart.
Successful treatment of such heart attacks requires prompt action to restore blood flow to the impacted portion of the heart by inserting and inflating a balloon to reopen the artery, performing coronary artery bypass surgery or administering clot-busting drugs. Time is of the essence for such procedures since the loss of blood supply causes irreversible damage to heart muscle.
The hospital earned the award by meeting specific criteria and standards of performance for treating such patients established by the AHA for 12 consecutive months.
“St. Joseph Medical Center is dedicated to improving the quality of care for our patients who suffer a heart attack, and the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program is helping us accomplish that goal through nationally respected clinical guidelines,” said Jodi Fincher, St. Joseph administrator.
“We are pleased to be recognized for our commitment and achievements in cardiac care, and I am very proud of our team,” she said.
James G. Jollis, M.D., chair of the AHA Mission: Lifeline Advisory Working Group, said “Achieving this award means the hospital has met specific reporting and achievement measures for the treatment of their patients who suffer heart attacks, and we applaud them for their commitment to quality and timely care.”
St. Joseph also received the AHA Mission: Lifeline’s Silver-Plus Award for achieving a score of 75 percent or greater for treating such heart attack transfer patients from other facilities within 120 minutes.
135th St. Funding
An ordinance that appropriates $3 million for the third and final phase of 135th St. improvements from Wornall Rd. west to Inverness Dr. will be considered again at 9:15 a.m. Thursday, June 29, by a joint Finance & Governance and Transportation & Infrastructure Committee of the City Council on the 10th floor of city hall.
That ordinance appropriates a total of $42,675,000 for the initial projects to be funded from the 20-year $800 million general obligation bond issue approved by city voters in April.
The bond funding for 135th St. will be matched by $500,000 already in this fiscal year’s city budget that was recommended by the Public Improvements Advisory Committee I serve on from funds allocated for 6th Council District capital projects.
When this ordinance was first considered but not acted on by the joint committee on June 7, both Vickie Wolgast, president of the South Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, and Marla Duck, executive director of the Martin City Community Improvement District, reminded committee members of the big increase in city sales tax revenue, much of it from Kansas residents, that Martin City businesses are expected to collect once the street improvements are completed.
Other south Kansas City projects funded by the proposed ordinance include $7 million to start construction of a new city animal shelter at Elmwood and Gregory Blvd., $3.4 million to totally reconstruct Wornall Rd. from 85th to 89th St., $2.25 million to construct streetscape improvements and neighborhood sidewalks in the Marlborough community, and $1.1 million for right-of-way acquisition for a levee and flood wall to protect the Swope Park Industrial Area around 75th Ter. east of Cleveland.
Tree Limb Pickup
South Kansas City residents who lost trees or tree limbs during this month’ storms may call the city’s 311 Action Center to schedule free curbside pickup that will take place from Monday, July 10, through Friday, July 14.
Trees must be cut into sections no longer than six feet, and trees and limbs must be placed curbside no later than 7 a.m. on the day of the appointment. Limbs do not have to be tied in bundles.
When scheduling the appointment, callers should notify the Action Center about the approximate amount and size of the trees and limbs to be picked up.
Bags of leaves and small sticks will not be picked up, but south Kansas City residents with identification showing their city residency may take them and larger branches and limbs at no charge through July 14 to the city’s drop-off site at 10301 Raytown Rd. which is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Non-residents may also use the site but must pay the usual fee.
Residents may take advantage of the city’s annual Independence Day “trash amnesty” program from Wednesday, July 5, through Monday, July 10, which allows them to set out up to 15 bags of trash curbside for no additional charge.
No hazardous waste, bulky items or leaves and brush will be collected.
There will be no trash pickup on the July 4 holiday, so if persons’ regular trash days fall on Tuesday through Friday they will be pushed back to Wednesday through Saturday that week.