South KC Perspective
By John Sharp
South Kansas City residents and business owners may make their formal requests for city funding for neighborhood capital improvements such as new curbs & sidewalks or repair or replacement of existing ones, community center & park improvements, storm water control or street improvements now through September 15.
Persons may go online to fill out an application. Up to three attachments such as digital photos can be included with the application.
Although this gets the application in the system for consideration, chances for approval are greatly enhanced if applicants and their supporters attend a PIAC hearing to explain the importance of their request and personally reach out to the PIAC representatives for their districts. This year’s south Kansas City PIAC hearings are coming up later this month and in September.
I served as the PIAC representative for Mayor Pro Tem Kevin McManus for the 6th Council District for the past eight years. During that time, I only remember a few instances when applications were approved if the applicants and their supporters did not attend a PIAC hearing to personally make their case.
The cost of the projects requested always far outweighs available funds, and persons sometimes have to reapply for a few years before even extremely worthy projects are funded.
The city’s 1% sales tax that funds the PIAC program generates about $30 million annually for neighborhood capital improvements divided equally among the city’s six council districts with the remaining funds used to pay debt and maintenance. Sometimes major projects that overlap council districts are jointly funded by the districts involved or by all six districts if they are of citywide significance.
Due to the recent city council redistricting, all of what most people would consider south Kansas City is in the 5th & 6th Council Districts. Much of the western portion of south Kansas City is in the 6th District which now runs from Cass County to Westport, and most of the eastern portion of south Kansas City is in the 5th District which stretches around the eastern border of Raytown all the way north to 40 Highway.
If persons are unsure of what council district they are in after redistricting, they may go online. Then type in their home address in the search bar.
The first 6th District PIAC hearing will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, August 15, in Room 114 of Pedro Arrupe SJ Hall at 5351 Forest at Rockhurst University. Persons may get to the facility by entering the Rockhurst campus on Forest from 55th St. and bending right as they enter the campus just past 54th St. They also may enter the campus on 54th St. from Troost and bending left. The facility is the first building on the right with a parking lot in front of it.
The second 6th District PIAC hearing will be at the same time Thursday, September 14, in the South Kansas City Chamber of Commerce office at 1300 E. 94th St., Suite 100, in the Blue River Commerce Center which was formerly part of the now closed Bannister Federal Complex. Persons should enter the Center from Troost on 94th St., and the Chamber office is in the second building on the left.
The new 6th District PIAC representatives who will conduct the hearings in cooperation with the councilmembers from the district are Kristi Ashton who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, the representative of new 6th District-in-District Councilman Johnathan Duncan, and Jonathan Bowyer who can be reached at email@example.com, the new PIAC representative of 6th District-at-Large Councilwoman Andrea Bough.
The first 5th District PIAC hearing will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, August 29, at Hillcrest Community Center, 10401 Hillcrest Rd.
The second 5th District PIAC hearing will be at the same time Tuesday, September 5, at Southeast Community Center, 4201 E. 63rd St.
The 5th District PIAC representatives who will conduct these hearings in cooperation with the councilmembers from the district are new PIAC representative Denetra Pouncil who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, the representative of new 5th District-at-Large Councilman Darrell Curls, and Bill Kimble who can be reached at email@example.com, the representative of 5th In-District Councilwoman Ryana Parks-Shaw.
The PIAC representatives, working with their city council counterparts, have been asked to submit their funding recommendations by December 15. Once approved in March by the full city council as part of the 2024-25 city budget, the funds will become available on May 1 when the city’s new fiscal year begins.
As a practical matter, since projects need to be planned and designed before construction can start, the following spring is usually the earliest construction can start for all but the simplest projects.
Persons with any questions about the hearings or the PIAC process may contact the PIAC staff at firstname.lastname@example.org or 816-513-1062.