There will be no blue ribbon citizens panel to decide the future of Kemper Arena. The Kansas City, Mo., city council Economic Development Committee has decided to tackle the matter itself.
The central issue of creating a development plan for the West Bottoms area is the largely unused Kemper Arena, which is losing the city $500,000 a year. The leaseholder, the American Royal Association, with the support of members of the Kemper family, wants to tear it down and build a smaller, more practical facility. A rival proposal would renovate the arena and create an amateur sports center.
“Ultimately it's going to be this council that makes the determination, so we're going to need to learn the facts anyway,” Chair Ed Ford said of the thinking behind having the committee itself study the issue.
Committee members concur that with rival proposals and division among the business committee as to which is best, what to do with the Arena could be a contentious issue.
The committee will start public hearings in early July and set a 90-day maximum goal on having a firm recommendation.