Fifty and Falling Down | KCUR

Fifty and Falling Down

May 4, 2011

KANSAS CITY, MO. – The Kansas City Council will vote tomorrow whether to sign a new lease on the life of Ward Parkway Shopping Center. It will take form of a Community Improvement District and a special sales tax.

The Council's Plans, Zoning and Economic Development Committee has been told the Center is blighted, a hazard to safety and losing money by the millions. The parking lot is collapsing and closed to public use. There are hazards within a little-known tunnel that runs the length of the complex.

Jeff McMahon of the management company said at City Hall his family avoids the shopping area. In fact, says McMahon-- "we'll drive past it to go a few miles further just because you have the feeling that Wark Parkway is on the decline. We're going to change that."

The center was built in 1959. Ralph Ochsner of the Arcitecture firm Hare and Hare said the center's market value fell from $48 million in 2008 to $29 million just two years later.

The plan is for a one cent sales tax in the center and vast renovations.