Downtown grocery TIF district approved

A downtown Kansas City, Kansas, grocery redevelopment TIF (tax-increment financing) district was unanimously approved at tonight’s Unified Government Commission meeting.

At a public hearing, two comments were heard in favor of the TIF district, from a Strawberry Hill resident and the Downtown Shareholders. There were no opposing comments.

Katherine Carttar, who will be the UG’s interim director of economic development, said the downtown grocery redevelopment district includes the entire block between 5th and 6th streets, from Minnesota to Armstrong avenues.

There are four project areas, and the UG will focus on Project Area 1, the northeast corner of the block, where the grocery store will be built, she said.

A UMB Bank is on the eastern side of the block, while there are no new projects yet slated for project areas 2 and 4, she said. A gas station is on the southeast corner of the block. A mix of retail and residential is anticipated for the rest of the block, she added.

After the TIF area is approved, the project plan for the grocery store will go to the Planning Commission, then the Economic Development and Finance Committee will consider adopting a resolution setting a public hearing for adoption of the project plan, next the full commission will consider adopting a resolution to set a public hearing for the grocery store area, and then the full commission will hold a hearing on the grocery store project plan area and adopt an ordinance approving it.

A resident of the Strawberry Hill neighborhood said, “Downtown Wyandotte has been a food desert for too long.” This has affected the residents and businesses, he said.

He also said the Merc has shown great responsibility in meeting with residents in listening sessions to make sure they provide products that meet local demand and lifestyles, and they believe this level of engagement is a key to their future success.

Jason Norbury, executive director of the Downtown Shareholders, said the grocery store is of extreme importance and will be a great economic anchor for the downtown and surrounding neighborhoods.

A resolution to execute the management agreement with the Merc was approved on Aug. 30, as well as authorization to spend up to $6 million for planning, design and construction of the downtown grocery store.

In other action, the commission approved an agreement with the Laborers’ International (LiUNA) for employees in the street department, transportation and fleet centers.

The contract is for Jan. 1, 2018, through the end of December, 2019, and reflects a wage increase of 2 percent, according to the contract, which is detailed in the agenda for the meeting.

Also approved at the UG meeting were a Livable Neighborhoods grant for affordable and safe housing, as well as ordinances for two Board of Public Utilities substations.

In other action, several proposed items on the agenda concerning the Land Bank were approved.

To see an earlier story on the downtown grocery, visit http://wyandottedaily.com/downtown-grocery-store-district-attorneys-conviction-integrity-unit-funding-approved/.

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