Loss of EPA headquarters will affect community

Businesses try to total the damage

KANSAS CITY, Kansas - The news that the Environmental Protection Agency intends to move its regional headquarters from Kansas City, Kansas to Lenexa, has businesses worried about what will be lost.

The headquarters was the anchor for a much needed boost for downtown

The EPA building does loom large in downtown Kansas City, Kansas. The Hilton Garden Inn is practically in its shadow.

"They've been a good neighbor to us, so we'd really hate to see them leave," said Kurt Mayo, the hotel's general manager.

In fact, it's partly why the hotel's here in the first place.

"That was one of the reasons we looked to put a hotel here, is the EPA was already in place, so that was you know, part of the resurgence of downtown," Mayo said.

That's why news that the agency intends to leave town is so distressing to the local business community.

"The EPA made a commitment to the inner city, the urban core, and I think that's important," Mayo said.

Mayo says the hotel's still trying to figure out how much business they get from the EPA and its visitors from a four state region, but they know it's significant. They also worry about the rest of downtown.

"Whether it be the gas station across the street or the restaurants, our restaurant, restaurants in the area, it's definitely going to have a ripple effect," he said.

And that ripple will be felt miles down Central Avenue.

At Ed's Trophies and Awards, the EPA has been their biggest customer.  They'll try to pursue that business if the agency relocates, but...

"Because we're so close they can come in and do some business with us and go back or even have lunch and then go back to the office," the shop's owner Joe Ozbolt said.

And Ozbolt knows if he loses that business, the ripple will spread.

"Anything I lose in revenue forces me to look at my expenses and to say ‘well, I can't … spend money on that 25 dollar or 50 dollar ad. I can't donate to that church or organization," Ozbolt said.

That leaves everybody here hoping the EPA reconsiders, and remembers its commitment.

"At least look at it because it's definitely going to harm this community," Mayo pleaded.

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