KANSAS CITY, Mo. - As Kansas City, Mo., leaders search for ways to pay for a proposed downtown streetcar, a tech guy had an idea for raising money from people who don't even live here through a new site called Neighbor.ly.
It could save money for taxpayers.
You may have heard of Kickstarter.
It's a place on the Internet where people can go to give money to new projects, like helping launch bands or pay production costs for an independent movie.
A tech company located in the Crossroads district is applying that concept to building a public works project - the proposed streetcar system.
It's called crowd sourcing, or crowd funding, when you ask strangers to donate to a cause.
Jase Wilson came home from a streetcar meeting frustrated that so many people were so upset about the $100 million cost.
Then he saw that a watch making company raised big money on Kickstarter.
"Pebble watch brought in ten million dollars," Wilson said.
Wilson runs Luminopolis. His tech company came up with what they call Neighbor.ly .
It's a web app that can collect money from corporations who want to advertise on the streetcars, and from normal folks who want to support the system.
He sees a market in former Kansas Citians.
"One guy is living in St. Louis, he's from the Northland, and he says on Twitter that he loves transit and he loves KC, and he's gonna pledge $100," said Wilson.
The proposed street car system would run two miles from the River Market to Union Station.
Property and sales taxes could go up to pay for it.
There still needs to be a vote to approve those higher taxes.
But Wilson - and city leaders - hope that if enough people donate through Neighbor.ly, the proposed tax hike wouldn't be so high.
"So even though it's not going to raise $100 million.... if we can raise some money, that a business owner or taxpayer doesn't have to pay, that's...good," KCMO Mayor Sly James said.
Wilson's team is helping the city decide what perks people will get for donating.
It could be a name on a brick, a T-shirt, or major advertising.
And they plan to launch Neighbor.ly during All-Star weekend in July.
But when it comes to money for the streetcar, the real trigger is a $25 million federal grant that the city has applied for to build the system.
Officials are anxiously waiting for an answer from Washington, an answer that could come any day now.
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