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Kansas City's 18th and Vine District could see new restoration projects through $4M federal investment

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Posted at 7:07 PM, Jul 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-25 20:07:45-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Roughly $38 million dollars could soon be coming to Missouri's fifth congressional district, thanks to the work of Congressman Emmanuel Cleaver II.

“Almost 40 million dollars and that money will got towards a variety of projects,” Cleaver said.

According to Cleaver, the United States House of Representatives passed the Fiscal Year 2023 Budget.

In that budget, Cleaver has allocated funds for 15 different project across the fifth congressional district

Those projects and funds include:

  • $4,600,000 to the City of Grandview for improvements to Blue Ridge Boulevard.
  • $4,000,000 to the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) for Low and No Emission Buses and Support Infrastructure.
  • $4,000,000 to the Kansas City, Missouri Public Works Department to create an 18th Street Pedestrian Plaza. 
  • $4,000,000 to Kansas City, Missouri Parks and Recreation Department for a Bruce R. Watkins Connector Community Park Project. 
  • $4,000,000 to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce & Heartland Black Chamber of Commerce for a Minority Chamber of Commerce Development Center. 
  • $4,000,000 to the Urban Neighborhood Initiative to support a housing initiative intended to build community and unlock the path to homeownership. 
  • $3,000,000 to the City of Independence for the Independence Historic Square Streetscape. 
  • $3,000,000 to the Raytown Parks & Recreation Department for Raytown Parks renovation and redevelopment. 
  • $3,000,000 to the City of Gladstone for an HVAC replacement at the Gladstone Community Center/Natatorium. 
  • $2,000,000 to Thank You Walt Disney, Inc. for the KC IMAGINE project.
  • $750,000 to Alphapointe for the Building Equitable Access to Community Opportunities Now (BEACON) Project. 
  • $750,000 to reStart Inc. for the Thriving Neighborhoods through Cottage Communities Project. 
  • $750,000 to the Full Employment Council for a Career Technology Academy.
  • $400,000 to SAVE, Inc. for Pride Haven. 

However, one of the projects included is revamping the 18th and Vine District, starting with a big welcome sign and a $4 million dollar investment.

“We’re going to get something that we will design here in Kansas City that will be a very welcoming structure,” Cleaver said. “We don’t know what it will be at this point, but it will welcome people into an area that is historic.”

Sherae Honeycutt, public information officer for Kansas City Public Works, says this money will help to restore the past and rewrite the future.

“So what we are going to do is all upgrades that are going to have to do with public works aspects of 18th and vine," Honeycutt said. "So that includes sidewalks, roads, lighting things like that to make the area a little more beautiful around here.

The city will also hope install more seating and benches in the area.

“Also putting in different things like many picnic tables, or seating or benches making it an area where people want to come and stay and spend some time," Honeycutt said.

Businesses along 18th and Vine are thrilled about the news, including Anita Moore Owner of Soiree Steak and Oyster House.

“I'm excited to see people just come in and be in the district and just see it as it should be," Moore said. "We should be like power and light, we should be like the plaza, we should have people down here visiting and shopping and putting money into the community."

Raymond Doswell, vice president and curator of the Negro League Baseball Museum, seconds what Moore said.

“We get lots of visitors down here. Just at the baseball museum alone, we generally average pre-pandemic, 65 to 70 thousand visitors annually," Doswell said. "So if there is less traffic and less cars in the way for people to move around, it makes for a more pleasant atmosphere."

At this time the budget has passed the House, and is on its ways to the Senate, then onto the president's desk for a signature.

In the meantime, many are excited about the possibility of money being invested into 18th and Vine, a place full of rich history and culture for all to enjoy

“Well just putting money back into he community providing jobs, opening new business, giving new business opportunities to those that want to open small businesses,” Moore said. “I think this is the perfect area. We can have boutiques, we can have ice cream shops. I’d really would love everyone to come by here and not see it as an eyesore but see it as as something fun and inviting.”