Kansas City residents handed city officials a big victory Tuesday night when they approved an $800 million bond package and property tax increase to address the city's infrastructure needs.
City officials are eager to get to work. City Manager Troy Schulte says his team has already been developing a first-year implementation plan for the first tranche, or portion, of the money. He says he plans to deliver a final version of that plan to the city council by May 1.
"I think [residents] will be impressed by what they see when we can get some shovels in the ground," he says.
The city plans to issue the bonds at the rate of $40 million per year. In year one, about half of that total will be dedicated to building a new animal shelter, bringing Starlight Theatre in compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, and making improvements to the Kansas City Museum.
"We are full speed ahead to try to deliver and have open by roughly September 2018 a brand new animal shelter at the corner of Elmwood and Gregory," Schulte says.
The new facility, which the city is building in partnership with the private sector, will be about 60,000 square feet — a big improvement over the current 13,500 square foot facility.
Schulte hopes to allocate the remaining $20 million on shovel-ready road and sidewalk projects, without about $7.5 million for sidewalks.
Here are some of the road projects Schulte says could start soon:
- Maplewoods Parkway from Highway M-1 to N. Antioch
- North Brighton from N. Pleasant Valley Rd. to NE 72nd Street
- 135th Street from Wornall to Hwy 150
- Wornall Road from 85th Street to 89th Street
- 63rd Street Reconstruction from Prospect to Troost
The city council is also working on rewriting the Kansas City's sidewalk ordinance, to remove the financial burden of repairing sidewalks from property owners.
Mayor Pro Tem Scott Wagner says the council will develop a system to prioritize certain sidewalks based on proximity to schools, public transportation and jobs.
He plans to have that plan in place within 45 days. In the meantime, residents can call 311 to request sidewalk repairs.
As far as flood control, Schulte says those projects, which include flooding issues in Brookside and Brush Creek, will likely come in year two. Planning and design for those repairs will begin this year.
Lisa Rodriguez is a reporter and the afternoon newscaster for KCUR. Connect with her on Twitter @larodrig.