After weeks of back and forth and lively discussion about what constitutes a "shovel-ready" project, the Kansas City Council on Thursday approved the first round of projects it will address with money from a massive, $800 million infrastructure bond package approved by voters in April.
The city will issue $44.6 million in bonds the first year, more than the $40 million they planned for. A fourth of that total will go to building a new animal shelter and improvements at the Kansas City Museum.
Only one project on the list is in the 2nd council district, something that councilwoman Teresa Loar pointed out Thursday afternoon. She says she understands there are more urgent needs, but urged the council not to forget about her constituents.
"Our taxpayers (in the 2nd district) are paying for this just like everybody else so we need to make sure that it's equitable," Loar said.
City Manager Troy Schulte and Mayor Sly James were eager to approve the first round of projects so they could get moving on construction.
Councilman Quinton Lucas said he supported the final list, but cautioned the council to take more steps next year to engage the community and the city's Public Improvements Advisory Council before deciding priorities — something the council promised voters it would do during the campaign for the G.O. Bond.
"There were things like community benefit agreements and other important items that we discussed with the voters and at least aren't reflected necessarily in this ordinance before passage," Lucas said.
Here's the list of first-year infrastructure projects.
- North Oak Trafficway — $1.18 million
- Maple Woods Parkway — $1.7 million
- Spirit of Freedom Fountain — $750,000
- Delbert Haff Fountain — $750,000
- KC Museum — $4 million
- Bringing Starlight up to Americans With Disabilities Act standards — $1.1 million
- Bringing City Hall Elevators up to Americans With Disabilities Act standards— $750,000
- Animal Shelter — $7 million
- Swope Park Industrial — $1.1 million
- Southwest Quadrant Beacon Hill — $3.7 million
- Marlborough Community Infrastructure — $2.25 million
- Paseo Gateway — $3.5 million
- Citywide Sidewalk Repair — $6 million
- Bringing curb ramps and corners up to Americans with Disabilities Act standards — $1.5 million
- Wornall Road from 85th to 89th St. — $680,000
- Beardsley Road Landslide — $75,000
- 22nd/23rd Street — $1.2 million
- Paseo Bridge Repairs (Brush Creek) — $600,000
- 135th St from Wornall Rd to M-150 — $3 million
- Prospect MAX — $2.5 million
- Broadway Traffic Synchronization — $900,000
- One Percent For The Arts program — $440,000
Schulte said projects are already stacking up for next year and he expects narrowing the list will be another long, difficult process.
Lisa Rodriguez is a reporter and the afternoon newscaster for KCUR 89.3. Connect with her on Twitter @larodrig.