South KC Perspective
Edgemoor Comes to South KC for Airport Design Input
By John Sharp
The best chance for south Kansas City residents to have input on the design, features and amenities of the new terminal for KCI Airport will be at a design workshop from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, January 16, at Evangel Church, 1414 E. 103rd St., on the north side of I-435 east of Holmes Rd.
This will be our opportunity to tell our ideas directly to the design team on how to make the terminal convenient and attractive and to assure it has the features many of us desire such as convenient parking, speedy baggage check-in, adequately sized restrooms and dining options.
Since the terminal will give visitors their first and last impression of our city, this will also be our opportunity to tell the designers what aspects of our city we want to highlight – the things that make us proud to be Kansas Citians and that make Kansas City unique.
The workshop will be hosted by Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate headquartered in Bethesda, Md., which is the selected developer for the project.
The event replaces an event December 14 at the South Patrol Police Station that was abruptly cancelled that night after the City Council earlier that day voted down a proposed memorandum of understanding with Edgemoor concerning construction of the new terminal due to concerns about several of its key provisions.
Since then the Council has authorized the city attorney and appointed outside legal counsel to continue to negotiate with Edgemoor to develop a revised memorandum of understanding that addresses the Council’s concerns.
Five similar workshops already have been conducted in other areas of the city, and one has been conducted in Johnson County.
Reservations for the workshop are encouraged but not required. Persons may RSVP at www.kci-edgemoor.com and clicking on events.
Streetcar Extension to UMKC
Extending streetcar service toward south Kansas City took a big step forward January 5 when the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) in partnership with the Kansas City Streetcar Authority (KCSA) and the city received authorization from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to move the proposed Main St. southern extension into the project development phase.
Project development is the phase when details of the project will be worked out such as refining capital and operating costs, estimating ridership and other benefits, assessing environmental impacts and formulating a detailed funding plan.
The southern extension will run from the streetcar’s current southern terminus at Union Station to UMKC in the vicinity of 51st St. and Brookside Blvd.
“An extension of the KC streetcar south is an important part of the region’s plan for improved service, and we’re looking forward to making it a reality,” said Robbie Makinen, KCATA president and CEO.
While the FTA authorization is not a commitment of federal funds, Richard Jarrold, KCATA senior vice president for strategic planning and economic development, said, “…it is the U.S. Department of Transportation’s recognition of the streetcar extension project, and it places Kansas City’s streetcar extension on their list of projects that could be considered for future funding.”
Project development also will incorporate consultants’ planning efforts for the southern extension jointly funded by the KCATA and the KCSA that have been underway since August.
This work includes collecting data regarding utilities and current conditions; refining alignment details such as whether the streetcar will be “curb-running” or “center-running”; determining station stop locations; coordinating regional transit service integration and related bus service improvements; updating cost estimates; initiating the process to seek federal funding; and seeking input from key stakeholders such as residents, property owners, neighborhood groups and community organizations.
Forming a transportation development district (TDD) to help fund the southern streetcar extension was overwhelmingly approved by voters in the proposed district during a mail-in election that ended August 1, and members of the board of directors for the TDD were elected by district voters on October 7.
South KC Area Plans
One updated city plan for a major portion of south Kansas City is nearing final approval and two others recently have been approved.
The final meeting to gather public input on the Country Club/Waldo area plan before it is submitted to the City Plan Commission and then to the City Council will be at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, January 10, in the Curry Auditorium at Research Medical Center’s Brookside Campus, 6675 Holmes Rd.
The meeting will have an open house format. City staff will make short presentations, and attendees then will be able to provide feedback on the draft plan.
For more information persons may contact Gerald Williams at 816-513-2897 or Gerald.Williams@kcmo.org or visit www.kcmo.gov/planning/country-clubwaldo-area-plan/.
The Longview area plan was approved by the KCMO City Council on December 21, and the Red Bridge Area Plan was approved March 2 after similar series of public meetings.
Area plans recommend strategies to help achieve a community’s long term future vision and provide a comprehensive framework to guide public decisions on land use, zoning, housing, public improvements, community development and city services.
The city is divided into 18 planning areas. The Country Club/Waldo area is between 55th and 85th Streets and between Paseo and Troost on the east and State Line Rd. on the west. The Longview area is between I-470 on the north and Belton and Raymore on the south and between Lee’s Summit on the east and Raytown Rd. and Grandview on the west. The Red Bridge area is between 85th St. on the north and Blue Ridge Blvd. on the south and between the U.S. 71/I-49 corridor on the east and State Line Rd. on the west.
The Longview plan’s vision statement is, “The Longview area retains its natural beauty and rural character as it grows. Residents and visitors alike enjoy the many recreation opportunities and vast green space anchored by Longview Lake. The area’s historical and environmental resources, scenic views and rural charm are preserved and enhanced through high-quality, context-sensitive development.”
The plan’s overall goals include preserving the area’s rural character, history and natural beauty; promoting coordination with adjacent cities; maintaining established residences while responding to housing options that meet emerging needs and desires; and utilizing Longview Lake and other existing recreational attractions to increase regional recreation opportunities.
The plan’s guiding principles for future land use and economic development include keeping low density residential and open space uses as the predominant uses for the area, with more intense uses located in coordination with adjacent cities; ensuring adequate infrastructure is in place to serve new projects; promoting the area as a regional recreation destination; growing agritourism; supporting development that capitalizes on adjacent cities’ growth while respecting the rural character of the area; and approving a marketing and branding strategy.
The December 21 approval of this plan establishes a framework for positive commercial and residential growth while maintaining the area’s character.
Thank goodness a week earlier on December 14 the City Council preserved the opportunity for more positive growth in the city in an area immediately north of the Longview area when it unanimously defeated a proposal (which I considered just nuts) to deannex about 95 acres of prime development property so it could be annexed by Lee’s Summit. (The area in question was between I-470 and Bannister Rd. and east of View High Dr.)
The developer of a large soccer oriented mixed use project including soccer fields and related facilities, housing, hotels, office buildings and retail outlets in Lee’s Summit northeast of I-470 and View High Dr. had proposed the deannexation of the area which it planned to use for a future phase of its development.
While I can understand a developer only wanting to deal with one city instead of two, giving another city land that is being considered for rapid development robs our city of future tax revenue to support needed city services and deprives nearby city residents of having an effective voice in how the area should be developed.
Although city staff initially supported this proposal, an outpouring of community opposition by south Kansas City residents (including me), neighborhood leaders and organizations such as the South Kansas City Alliance and Southern Communities Coalition with the strong support of our area City Council members led to its unanimous defeat.
Owners of rental properties, including vacant rental properties, must register their properties with the Kansas City Neighborhoods & Housing Services Department by January 31 to avoid monthly fines and administrative fees.
Registration can be completed online through the city’s website www.kcmo.gov.
Rental property owners needing assistance with the annual registration process may contact Carla Finch at 816-513-9039.
River Runner Fares
Travelers can save 20 percent on the cost of regular adult fares on Amtrak’s Missouri River Runner twice daily train service between Kansas City and St. Louis through March 31 during Amtrak’s annual Winter Warm-Up Sale.
The River Runner departs Kansas City from Union Station and stops at Independence, Lee’s Summit, Warrensburg, Sedalia, Jefferson City, Hermann, Washington and Kirkwood before arriving in downtown St. Louis.
With the discount, the one-way fare for the total trip is only $24.80. One child from 2 to 12 years old may accompany each adult for half off the full adult fare during the sale.
Reservations must be made at least one day in advance. Persons may make reservations online by going to www.amtrak.com/missouri-river-runner-train, clicking on deals, then clicking on deals & promotions, scrolling to Midwest train routes and then clicking on save 20% on select routes in Missouri.