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Funding stalled to address 18th and Vine District blight

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Posted at 10:34 PM, Apr 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-27 00:11:20-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The day after a shooting that killed 1 and injured 3, business owners in the 18th and Vine Historic District said dilapidated buildings make it harder to curb violence.

“We are the only entertainment district that has to operate with the city’s blight surrounding us,” Henry Service, a business and property owner said.

Almost five years ago, the city touted a $27.6 million revitalization plan.

The money was to be doled out over three phases.

The first phase was complete in 2018 and talks about funding the next phase began shortly after.

City Councilwoman Melissa Robinson tried to get funding in June 2020 for more improvements to the district.

Robinson introduced an ordinance to direct the city manager to find a source of funding for four million dollars for improvements.

But that ordinance has been held in a council committee time and time again.

“There is a huge disparity district by district in which those of us who need it most, the areas that need it most in the city is not receiving it," Robinson said Monday.

We reached out to all council members and the mayor’s office with 2 questions.

What’s prompted the delay and will the mayor and council prioritize this legislation?

The mayor’s office referred us to the city council and only a handful of members got back to us.

Councilwoman Bough and Councilman Ellington said in e-mails there are proposals from developers for the city-owned properties that’s are still in the works.

They are waiting to see how it shakes out before moving forward.

Bough and Ellington said they remain dedicated to seeing investments in the district.

“We have to make sure that we have equity that’s just not a conversation but there’s a commitment by our vote,” Robinson said.

There were talks of starting a community improvement district so money from the dedicated sales tax could go toward security.

Some businesses didn’t like the idea and it never came came to fruition.

The mayor’s office told 41 Action News they are planning to arrange a private meeting soon with business owners and other stakeholders to come up with solutions to address the district’s needs ahead of the summer months.