KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A transportation agency started the demolition of an abandoned eyesore on the corner of 27th Street and Prospect Avenue Wednesday.
The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority is paying to tear down the building on the southeast corner of the intersection. KCATA runs the buses around Kansas City, but the property won’t be the home to a new bus bench or depot.
The agency is in the process of establishing a MAX express bus line from downtown along Prospect to 75th Street.
KCATA President and CEO Robbie Makinen said being a transportation company is about more than moving buses down streets, it’s about spurring economic and community development.
“We want this to be the jewel in our crown,” Makinen said at a ceremonial demolition Wednesday. “This will be our model. The congressman [Emanuel Cleaver] can take this to D.C. and say look what happens, look at the difference we can make when we all work together and public transit dollars mix with development dollars and community development.”
The KCATA hopes tearing down the building makes the property appealing to developers who will move in and provide more opportunities to people along the Prospect corridor and on the city’s east side.
The bus line, demolition, and construction of new bus depots will be funded through local and federal funds. In all, it will cost about $55 million total and the MAX line should begin operation in 2020.
“When we decide to work together, when we decide to be innovative, when we reach out into unusual places and gather unusual friends and ask them to do unusual things, we get change. And we get good change and we get change that makes sense for the people of this community and other communities,” Kansas City Mayor Sly James said.
The KCATA targeted the building at this intersection because the intersection is seeing redevelopment with the police department’s new east patrol headquarters and the Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church Youth and Family Life Center across the street.