A plan introduced by City Councilman Jermaine Reed aims to revitalize the 18th and Vine district, one of Kansas City’s most historic areas.
On Thursday, Reed was joined by City Manager Troy Schulte to call on city leaders to pass the plan. The $27.6 million project aims to improve 18th and Vine in a variety of ways, including:
- $5.6 million to add retail and apartment space on 18th Street
- $4.2 million to repair and improve historic buildings
- $3 million for streetscape improvements
Reed said the project’s improvements would be done over the next three years and could help attract more people to an important area of the city.
“18th and Vine still matters,” he explained. “It's important that we make sure we are preserving the rich history and legacy that we have."
The American Jazz Museum and Negro Leagues Baseball Museum are two of the main attractions of 18th and Vine. The jazz museum would receive $1.7 million as part of the project. Executive Director Cheptoo Kositany-Buckner said the funds would go a long way at the facility. “Our sound system was put in place 19 years ago,” she said. “We really don't have the best sound system to be able to produce the best music to really experience."
The revitalization project and effort to bring more people to 18th and Vine has its challenges. For one, community leaders say the district’s location can be a hindrance.
“It is in an isolated part of the area, so we have to create a destination," explained Negro Leagues Baseball Museum President Bob Kendricks.
Another is crime. On Wednesday, two thefts were reported in the neighborhood around 18th and Vine. While community leaders say the area is relatively safe, 18th and Vine has a reputation for crime at times.
“The only way we can get people to move beyond that [crime reputation] is to find ways to get them to come to 18th and Vine,” Kendricks said.
Over the next 30 days, Reed says he will work on gaining input from the public on the plan. The next community meeting on the subject is being held Monday, May 9 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Gregg Klice Community Center.
City Council may make a final decision on the revitalization plan later this year.
Tom Dempsey can be reached at Tom.Dempsey@KSHB.com.