New plans may be in works for a new Kemper Arena

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - New plans may be in the works for the 40-year-old Kemper Arena. Since Crosby Kemper Jr.'s death last week, many have wondered what will happen to his namesake. On Wednesday, his youngest son, Mariner, told 41 Action News he may be close to an agreement.


Kemper and his son announced in October of 2011 that they wanted to tear down Kemper Arena and make it new again. It was once a place where the biggest and baddest in music, sports and politics gathered. Today, it is a quiet, crippled place of memories.

"It's dark most of the time," American Royal CEO Bob Petersen said.

It is the place that brought new life to the equine and agricultural center, the American Royal in the 1970s.
         
His family said the hard working people in agriculture that once made Kansas City was close to Kemper's heart.

"We just want to get it done for the city and it would be for me very important to honor him with the success of the project," he said.

The agreement could involve tearing the old one down to make way for a $40 or $50 million site dedicated mostly to equine and agricultural events. A report commissioned by the American Royal said a new arena could have a $75 million economic impact.
           
"We care deeply about the legacy of Kemper Arena," Mariner Kemper said, "and the reason for tearing it down is because of our love for its legacy and its history and to remember it the right way."

Mariner Kemper said he has raised 80 percent of the $10 million of private money. The majority of dollars would have to come from the city. However, the city is broke and is still paying off Kemper Arena's bonds.
       
Some city council members said the only way they see the possibility of a new Kemper Arena is asking the public to pitch in.

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