Neighbors hopeful as construction is set to begin on Mission Gateway Project

Project was announced eight years

MISSION, Kan. - Construction is set to begin Monday on a development in Mission that is years in the making, yet neighbors say they won't believe it until they see it.

The Mission Gateway Development, near Shawnee Mission Parkway and Roe Boulevard, was greatly impacted by the recession.

The project was first announced eight years ago.

Grading crews are expected to begin work on the weed-choked field Monday morning.

When that happens, some Mission business owners say they may shed tears of joy. They say they're sick of staring at an empty field, wondering when -- if ever -- work would begin on the site.

The plan is to build a new Walmart, a high-rise with 300 apartments, retail and restaurant space and a large parking garage.

The $126 million project is set to open in 2015.

Roses Only floral shop owner Elliot Cardozo is anxiously awaiting the project.

He's hopeful it will increase sales at his downtown Mission store.

"Over the last four years, things have started to really go down, go down, go down, Cardonzo said. "We are looking forward for this development to happen. Bringing in new people will do well for us all because we are all working hard just to keep our heads above water right now. But like everyone around here, I won't get my hopes up until shovels hit the dirt."

The existing Walmart at Roe Boulevard and Sycamore Street will close as the new Mission store opens.

That Walmart brings in $700,000 to Roeland Park a year, the city's largest single source of tax revenue.

One idea the city has proposed to offset that loss is to minimally raise property taxes. City leaders met with residents earlier this year to brainstorm.

Roeland Park resident Kathleen Whitworth said she wouldn't mind a small tax increase.

"If we have to raise property tax and they're only talking $90 a year, I haven't got a problem with that," she said.

Chuck Hochstetler, another Roeland Park resident, disagrees.

"I don't know. I don't know where I would cut to find $100 more," he said.

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