Mayor seeks quality economic development projects

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Opinion column

by Murrel Bland

Kansas City, Kansas, Mayor spoke about economic development opportunities for Kansas City, Kansas, at the monthly meeting of the Congressional Forum Friday, Oct. 18, at Children’s Mercy Park. The Kansas City, Kansas, Area Chamber of Commerce sponsors the forum

Mayor Alvey said the challenge for a city is to provide basic services, such as street repair and police and fire protection, at a reasonable cost. Beyond that, it is important to encourage those businesses who will help increase the tax base.

There are about 3,500 vacant homes in the Land Bank in Kansas City, Kansas. Mayor Alvey said that during the 1960s, the trend was to bulldoze these properties. Today the approach is different as those properties can be improved and provide housing for lower-income families. He said he hopes that financial institutions will come together to help fund such efforts.

The mayor held up a document which forecasts the Unified Government’s revenue and expenses for the next five years. He said it is important to have a long-term plan that provides reasonably accurate information.

Mayor Alvey spoke of the long-abandoned Rock Island Bridge over the Kansas River that is near the former Kemper Arena in the West Bottoms of Kansas City, Missouri, and could become a destination place for entertainment and retail development. The project has also drawn interest of Quinton Lucas, the recently elected mayor of Kansas City, Missouri.

Alvey also spoke of the $25 million investment along the Turner Diagonal that will provide warehouses and ancillary development. It is estimated it will produce about 1,100 new jobs.

Two other projects he mentioned were the downtown grocery that will be near Sixth Street and State Avenue and the American Royal campus that will be built in Village West.

The mayor also told of the new owners of the Kansas City T-Bones, Max-Fun Entertainment. The Unified Commission approved an agreement with Max-Fun last Thursday, Oct. 17. Matt Perry, the new president of the T-Bones, has pledged he will make improvements to the stadium that the Unified Government owns.

Mayor Alvey said the Unified Government will continue to seek the collection of back rent and utility payments that is owed by the previous owners of the T-Bones.

U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids spoke to the group, via a large television screen. She said that she was able to help convene a meeting of the Congressional Small Business Committee at Kansas City Kansas Community College. She said she continues to spend time with area businesses including YRC Freight, a trucking company.

Murrel Bland is the former editor of The Wyandotte West and The Piper Press. He is the executive director of Business West.

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