Kansas City Council | KCUR

Kansas City Council

Barbara Shelly / KCUR 89.3

Lora McDonald says she had to live with mold in her Kansas City, Missouri, apartment for six months before her landlord took any action.

“It is a long time to live with mold outside my son’s bedroom,” McDonald says.

McDonald, executive director of More2 and an advocate for equitable housing, says she took her concerns all the way to the director of the Kansas City health department, who told her that aside from testing for mold and advising the landlord to fix it, there was nothing the city could do.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

The Kansas City Council is considering a measure to increase transparency in city government.

The measure, introduced by councilman Scott Taylor, would limit lobbyist gifts and meals to city councilmembers to $5, require city officials to wait two years after leaving office before lobbying or doing business in front of the city and limit taxpayer-funded travel for members of the city council.

JASON ROSENBAUM/ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO FILE

Former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander will join the already-crowded field of candidates vying to replace outgoing Kansas City Mayor Sly James in 2019. 

Last week, a Kander spokesperson told KCUR that Kander was "deciding how he can best serve." On Monday, Kander's camp confirmed the one-time U.S. Senate candidate will run for mayor.

Lucas for KC

Third District Councilman Quinton Lucas is entering the crowded race to be Kansas City, Missouri’s, next mayor.

Lucas is the sixth current city council member to announce a mayoral bid, and the ninth person to enter the race.

Kevin Collison / KCUR 89.3

The developer of the One Light and Two Light luxury high rises in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, will get tax breaks to build a third luxury apartment tower, Three Light, at 14th and Main streets.

On Thursday, the Kansas City Council in an 8 to 4 vote authorized a 100 percent tax abatement for 23 years to Cordish. 

Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate

Updated 4:30 p.m. Thursday, June 21.

The estimated cost of the new, single-terminal KCI Airport is $300 million more than previously thought, officials said Thursday.

In addition to four more gates, the terminal building itself will be bigger, causing the cost to rise to between $1.3 billion and $1.4 billion.

Aviation director Pat Klein assured the city council during an update that the airlines who use the airport —and who will ultimately be on the hook for the cost — support the increase.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3 file photo

A plan to build a strip mall on a vacant lot in Kansas City's Historic Northeast neighborhood is drawing the ire of some community groups. 

The lot, at the corner of Independence and Prospect avenues, is on the site where a fire destroyed a building in 2015. Two Kansas City firefighters died when the building collapsed.

MAC Properties

A “transformational” plan that would add hundreds of apartments and new businesses to the rundown intersection of Troost and Armour was unanimously endorsed Tuesday by the Kansas City Plan Commission.

Chicago-based MAC Properties, which has developed more than 1,500 apartments along Armour Boulevard over the last decade, wants to invest $78 million in its biggest project to date. It would add 450 apartments and 27,000 square feet of retail to the area.

It received a warm welcome from the Plan Commission.

Kevin Collison / KCUR 89.3

Developers who ask for tax incentives in Kansas City can claim an apartment that rents for $1,600 a month is affordable — and eligible for incentives.

An ordinance passed by the Kansas City Council on Thursday changes that.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Acting to exert greater control over the financially strapped American Jazz Museum, the Kansas City Council's Finance and Audit Committee Wednesday approved two ordinances that would halt any new city money going to the museum, remove Third District councilpeople from the board and, eventually, clear the way for Mayor Sly James to name a new board of directors.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

A committee has narrowed the list of what might be renamed in Kansas City to honor Martin Luther King Jr. 

The advisory committee, named by Mayor Sly James, said it will vote on its recommendation Sunday.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The emergency call wait time crisis that troubled Kansas City Police Department commanders last year seems to be easing after a hefty investment by the city.

Last fall, it took 57 seconds, on average, for a call taker to answer a 911 call. KCPD commanders testified before the council's Public Safety and Neighborhood Committee that the wait time was down to 21 seconds as of April.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include developments at Thursday's City Council meeting.

This week marked the deadline for Kansas City's troubled American Jazz Museum to respond to the city's request to change its staff and board leadership in order to be eligible for city funds.

Clint Ashlock

Musicians have a lot at stake when it comes to the future of the American Jazz Museum.

"Please take the artist into consideration first, and foremost," bandleader and percussionist Pablo Sanhueza urged members of the Kansas City Council's finance and governance committee at an April 25 hearing to chart a course forward for the troubled museum.

CJ Janovy / KCUR 89.3

More than 50 people, including artists, musicians, former American Jazz Museum employees and volunteers packed a Kansas City Council committee meeting on Wednesday to voice their concerns or support for the troubled museum.

The council's finance and governance committee had a lot of ground to cover during the three-hour session.

Coy Dugger / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: The Urban Youth Academy at 18th and Vine is up and running. How is it affecting nearby neighborhoods?

When the Urban Youth Academy was first announced some people were concerned it would be primarily used by suburban visitors rather than kids in the surrounding neighborhoods. We get an update on how people are feeling about the facility now that it is up and running.

Segment 1: The National School Walkout In North Kansas City.

A check-in with our reporter, who covered today's National School Walkout from Oak Park High School.

Segment 2, beginning at 5:41: A Portrait Session with Alvin Brooks.

File Photo / Luke X. Martin KCUR 89.3

Kansas City residents will now be able to see more of how the city spends their money.  

On Thursday, the Kansas City Council voted unanimously to scale back the city manager's power to award contracts for city projects.

Councilman Quinton Lucas, who sponsored the ordinance, said it wasn't prompted by any single contract awarded by the city manager but rather a general effort to promote transparency. 

Before Thursday's vote, City Manager Troy Schulte could award construction contracts valued at more than a $1.3 million without public notice or council approval. 

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Singing "freedom is coming soon," members of the Paseo Academy choir serenaded a small crowd at the Spirit of Freedom fountain Tuesday morning. 

"There’s two things for me that signify springtime. One is opening day for the Royals, and the other is turning on the fountains in Kansas City," said Kansas City Parks and Recreation board commissioner Allen Dillingham.

Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate

The timeline for a new single terminal at Kansas City International airport has been slightly delayed because airport officials have determined it needs more gates than originally planned. 

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

A few conservative legislators in Jefferson City want to limit how much cities and counties can raise with locally imposed sales taxes.

Under a bill (HB 2168), which is moving slowly through the General Assembly, local governments could not impose a sales tax over 12 percent.

“It’s shortsighted and it’s non-productive," says Kansas City Mayor Sly James. "There is no good that comes out of weakening us.”

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

A day after a consultants' report suggested that the American Jazz Museum is "in need of complete rethinking, akin to starting a new museum" and suggested a temporary closure, the museum's board of directors met at the Gem Theater to parse the critical assessment of the museum's finances, leadership and exhibits.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Consultants hired by the city of Kansas City, Missouri, to assess the wellbeing of the American Jazz Museum on Monday recommended closing the museum temporarily.

The museum, according to the consultants' report, is "in need of complete rethinking, akin to starting a new museum." The report called for a "complete rebirth, starting with its leadership, but continuing with a revamped financial model, visitor experience, and operational infrastructure."

americanjazzmuseum.com

The Kansas City council voted Thursday afternoon to allow more bars into the city's Historic 18th and Vine district. 

Councilman Jermaine Reed, who represents the district, sponsored the proposal, which makes it easier to obtain a liquor license in the historic district.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City, Missouri, city leaders on Thursday celebrated what they called major improvements to the urban core: $8 million spent over two years on a program to sell abandoned or dangerous houses for $1 each.

The program, designed to not just clean up neighborhoods but to cut down on crime, showcased one of its first graduates.

Laurie Schwab bought a home on East 29th Terrace in 2016 during the Kansas City, Missouri, Land Bank's $1 sale and has poured $21,000 into it so she can operate it as a transitional living stop for homeless people.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Nearly 900 streets in the U.S. are named for Martin Luther King Jr. But there's not one in Kansas City.

Several prominent, local black political and religious leaders want to change that by renaming The Paseo to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, but say they've been met with bureaucratic resistance. So, they want to take the fight to the ballot box.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

At Union Station Tuesday morning, city and community leaders unveiled the official logo for Kansas City's "Creative City of Music" designation from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Designed by Hallmark artist John Wagner, the logo features a trombone, with the letters 'KC' formed out of a drum and drumsticks. The image was inspired by James Weldon Johnson's poetry book 'God's Trombones,' which he wrote after being moved by a church sermon during a 1918 visit to Kansas City.

Pixabay - CC

The Kansas City Council has paved the way for a third new luxury apartment building downtown as well as more moderately priced units. But downtown shoppers, drinkers and diners will be paying an extra penny on the dollar.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

The Kansas City Council on Thursday approved a $1.66 billion dollar budget for the coming fiscal year. 

As it did last year, the city boosted funding for public safety, which includes the police and fire departments and the municipal court, and which takes up more than three-quarters of the city's general fund. Most other city department budgets will remain flat next year.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: In the face of uncertainty, fear is not your friend.

The leader of the largest United Methodist congregation in the country says Americans live in fear. Fear of crime and terrorism. Fear of losing our jobs or having enough money to retire. Fear of missing out on all the fun stuff everybody else seems to be doing on Facebook. We spoke to the minister about when fear reaches unhealthy proportions, and what to do about it.

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