KCMO City Hall

HDR / City of Kansas City

Kansas City could get more information on when its new streetcars will be delivered as early as Tuesday.

Tom Gerend, executive director of the Streetcar Authority and City Engineer Ralph Davis are in Elmira, New York at facilities of CAF U.S.A on what would be a routine progress visit – except the first streetcar was due in June. All four were supposed to be delivered by this month.

The Streetcar Authority Board meets on Thursday and Davis and Gerund hope to be able to report on whether the streetcar line can open in time for the Big-12 tournament as planned.

Chantex/Public Domain

It can be pretty frustrating: you have people in and it rains and the roof leaks. 

That is what has been happening for several years at Bartle Hall according to Kansas City Director of Convention and Entertainment Facilities Oscar McGaskey.

Mc Gaskey told the City Council Finance Committee on Wednesday that the roof at Bartle is beyond patchwork repairs and “in bad shape.”

He says exhibitors keep asking him when it will be repaired.

Lane4 Properties

Updated August 14, 2015

For long-time south Kansas City residents, the faded shopping center at Holmes and Red Bridge Road is a sad sight to behold.  Once a popular destination for shopping, dining, an ice cream cone, a movie or bowling, Red Bridge is now almost a ghost town with 80 percent of the retail space in its two main sections vacant. The bowling alley, later converted to office space, is also empty and wears a huge banner proclaiming “29,948 square feet for lease.”

Willoughby Design, Inc.

The Kansas City streetcars could be very late arriving. And Mayor Sly James says that is becoming a “critical issue.”

City officials say they are having “very strong conversations” with CAF USA, the company building the streetcars after CAF USA notified the city that there could be a “significant delay” beyond the September delivery date for the first car. That date had already been moved back from June.

The city was hoping to have two cars tested and in operation for visitors to the Big 12 Tournament in March. 

Creative Commons / around-the-world.wuerth.com

Kansas City has been selected to participate in an initiative aimed to help officials better implement the city's strategic goals through the use of consultants and technical experts.

"What Works Cities" is sponsored by the Bloomberg Foundation -- as in former New York mayor and business scion Michael Bloomberg -- and it’s dedicated to enhancing openness and using data to improve government efficiency.

dachs2danes.com /Creative Commons

A dog sweltering in a locked car on a 95 degree day – or tethered in the yard by a heavy chain for hours with no water. It's agonizing for an animal lover to see those sights. 

To avoid such scenarios, Kansas City is asking for help with improving its animal control ordinance. It contains the city's statutory rules on animal neglect and abuse.

Like animal lovers and animal rights activists, city leaders are frustrated. Responding to calls from concerned citizens, the city animal shelter took in 3900 abused or neglected animals last year. 

Scott Wagner / LinkedIn

Kansas City's next Mayor ProTem is a Northlander. 

Mayor Sly James appointed the members and chairs of 11 Kansas City council committees on Thursday, and 1st District Councilman Scott Wagner got the nod to both be Mayor Pro Tem and to chair the important Finance Governance and Ethics Committee. 

The Northland is an economically robust and rapidly growing area and its residents have often expressed feelings of being given second-tier treatment by a council dominated by south-of-the-river seats. The last Northland Mayor Pro Tem was Bill Skaggs during the administration of Mark Funkhouser. But both Alvin Brooks, who proceeded Skaggs, and Cindy Circo, who succeeded him were from south of the river.

Kansas City, Missouri is in the midst of hiring a new Chief Innovation Officer, but what exactly does that job entail? The position, which is common in tech firms, is a relatively new trend in local governments. 

Guests:

  • Chris Hernandez is the Director of Communications for Kansas City, Missouri.
  • Jeffrey Stinson covers the business of government for Stateline, which reports on trends in state government for the Pew Charitable Trusts.

As expected, the full Kansas City Council approved financing arrangements for a proposed downtown convention hotel on Thursday.

One by one, the council members each spoke in favor or the convention hotel. Then the body voted unanimously to issue $35 million in bonds for construction, provide $4.9 million worth of land between Bartle Hall and the Kauffman Center, and endorse property tax abatement for the hotel.

Proposed Convention Hotel
Hyatt Hotels

The full Kansas City Council is expected to vote Thursday on underwriting and tax abatement for a new downtown Hyatt convention hotel. 

A council committee on Wednesday approved a $35 million cash contribution, to be financed with bonds.  The bonds would be paid off from convention and tourism taxes.

That funding, plus tax breaks and a $4.5 million contribution of city-owned land would add up to more than half of the expected $311 million project cost.

The Shield

Jul 17, 2015

As she's about to take her seat on the Kansas City, Missouri Council, Katheryn Shields talks about her political career — how she got her start, her accomplishments and how she dealt with with adversaries and scandal.

Neighbors and parishioners continued to do verbal battle with the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph as a Kansas City Council committee revisited the proposal to replace  the former St. Francis School with student apartments.

On Wednesday, the committee tossed the matter to the full City Council.

A guarantee of 55 more parking spaces for the St. Francis Xavier Church didn't appease opposition to the proposed 235-bedroom residential building. Neighborhood groups and church members have battled successive versions of the proposal for three years. 

Wikipedia Commons/K.C. Star

The Kansas City Council will vote next week on extending the tax abatement on the Kansas City Star's printing plant for another 15 years. 

A council committee endorsed the extension, though an advisory board did not.

The Chapter 353 Advisory Board said tough times in the newspaper industry notwithstanding, the Star received the 10-year tax abatement in the spirit of the law involved:  to end blight at 15th and Oak streets. 

With the building in place, the board said, the blight is now gone and the newspaper is not entitled to any more tax relief.

Wikipedia Commons/geograph.org.uk

The Kansas City City Council put the finishing touches on an update of city rules on pet potbellied pigs Thursday, and in the process eased some restrictions.

To make it easier to adopt the animals or find homes for strays, pedigree papers are no longer necessary for the pigs . The word of any veterinarian that the pet pig is of the Vietnamese potbellied variety will suffice. 

The weight limit of 95 pounds was removed.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

The newly elected Kansas City Council features a lot of new blood— six out of the 12 members have never served on the council before. 

In the spirit of getting to know our newly elected council men and women, we asked them — what is the greatest challenge facing Kansas City as you start your term?

The newly elected Kansas City, Missouri, city council features six members who have never served on the before. On yesterday's edition of Up To Date, we spoke to three of those new members, and today we meet two more newcomers to the job. 

Guests: 

The newly elected Kansas City, Missouri, city council features a lot of new blood— six out of the 12 members have never served on the council before. On this edition of Up To Date, we talk with three newcomers to the job.

Guests:

  • Quinton Lucas will be the 3rd District At-Large councilman.
  • Jolie Justus will represent the 4th District.
  • Alissia Canady will represent the 5th District. 
christina rutz / Flickr-CC

A Kansas City Council Committee has determined that it should no longer be illegal to keep Vietnamese potbellied pigs as pets.

An amendment to a 1995 ordinance going before the full city council would allow for up to four potbellied pigs to be kept in residentially zoned areas as long as they are neutered and remain under 95 pounds.

Residents who want to keep potbellied pigs will have to keep them leashed or fenced when outside. 

As Kansas City, Missouri residents head to the polls today, The Kansas City Star's Lynn Horsley and Steve Kraske discuss what to watch for as the results come in. 

1 Minute Candidate

Mere hours are left before the polls open for the Kansas City Missouri, elections — but are you informed about the candidates?

According to one Kansas City entrepreneur, millennial voters aren’t getting the information they need to make an educated vote — and he’s trying to change that with 1MinuteCandidate.co, a company that aims to quickly inform voters about candidates with 60-second videos.

Voter turnout among millennials has been extremely low, especially in municipal elections. According to an analysis of Kansas City election board data by local civic organization mySidewalk, three times more people over the age of 80 voted in the April 9 primaries than people under 30.

file photos

The Tuesday Kansas City, Missouri City Council election ballot features six races that do not have incumbent candidates.  One of those is for the 5th District At-Large seat, where Lee Barnes and Dennis Anthony square off in their first bids for membership in the city's governing body.

HDR, City of Kansas City

In less than a week, Kansas City, Missouri voters will go to the polls to decide on the makeup of their next City Council.

One of the most closely-competitive races is for the the Northland's 2nd District At-large seat now held by Ed Ford, who is not seeking re-election because of term limits.

Running for the 2nd District seat is Teresa Loar, former two-term City Council member and two-term member of the North Kansas City School Board, who says she has lived in the northland for almost 50 years.

With  city council elections fast approaching, two candidates for the 2nd District At-large seat face off on this edition of Up to Date.

Guests:

  • Teresa Loar is the former two-term City Council member and two-term member of the North Kansas City School Board.
  • Jay Hodges served as the senior advisor for economic development and public safety in Mayor Sly James' administration.
Julie Denesha / KCUR

The Kansas City, Missouri, City Council elections are fast approaching, and several of the races look to be closely contested.

One of those is in the 4th district, where former Jackson County Executive Katheryn Shields is giving incumbent Jim Glover a spirited run.

Both Shields and Glover joined Up To Date host Steve Kraske at the KCUR studios to discuss some of the city's most pressing issues.

Two seasoned politicians go head-to-head on this edition of Up To Date, leading up to this month's elections. 

Guests:

  • Jim Glover is currently serving as Councilman for the 4th District At-large. 
  • Katheryn Sheilds is the former Jackson County Executive and is challenging Glover for the 4th District seat. 

An ordinance that met significant opposition from some building owners has passed The Kansas City Council. Owners of large buildings in Kansas City, Missouri will be required to make information public on energy and water consumption. 

The reporting program will begin with municipal buildings and voluntary business participants, but by May, 2017 owners of buildings over 100,000 square feet will be required to calculate so-called energy “benchmarks” or face fines. The data goes public in the fall of 2018. 

Wikimedia/Creative Commons

Larger demand for distinctive craft beers is opening up opportunities for smaller breweries.  And the Kansas City, Missouri  city council has taken action to make it easier to open a "nanobrewery."

Hyatt Hotels

Plans for an 800-room, $300 million downtown convention hotel continues to advance at a whirlwind pace. 

The full Kansas City council approved the basics of the deal Thursday, including a contribution of $13 million in city-owned land and $35 million in cash. 

Mayor Sly James said the hotel was part of his pre-election vision, but the plan is not about personal aggrandizement. 

“This was done because everybody on this council, I think, agrees that this was something we needed to get done,” he said.

With the August ballot deadline a week away, a group of faith-based and social justice organizations presented more than enough petition signatures to send a “living wage” initiative to Kansas City, Missouri voters.

That would allow it to pass before a Missouri bill forbidding cities from raising the minimum wage could take effect, assuming Gov. Nixon signs the bill into law.

The initiative would raise Kansas City's minimum wage to $10 an hour this year, and to $15 by 2020. 

A Kansas City, Missouri city council committee has endorsed a plan to require owners of buildings over 50,000 square feet to audit their energy consumption each year.

The ordinance requires calculating energy usage and making the data available to the public.

Supporters say that will encourage energy efficiency, but not mandate it.

Still, it would require owners of buildings over 100,000 square feet to start calculating energy usage in 2017 or face fines.

The smaller buildings between 50,000 and 100,000 square feet would have an additional year to comply.

Pages