MLK celebration highlights need for development on east side

Posted at 7:46 PM, Jan 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-17 15:42:08-05

Celebration with activism, that's what the Southern Christian Leadership Conference has planned for tonight's Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration.

The theme of this year's festivity at Friendship Baptist Church located at 3530 Chelsea Drive in Kansas City is "Remembering, Reflecting, Renewing Justice and Equality Now." 

Reverend Vernon Howard Jr., is the president of Kansas City's SCLC chapter. 

He said renewing equality in Kansas City needs to begin on Kansas City's east side.

"We want to reverse that trend of economic divestment to economic redevelopment which we believe will raise the quality of life for all citizens," said Howard Jr.

Supporters collected enough signatures back in October to put a one-eighth cent citywide sales tax increase on the April ballot. The money would support development on Kansas City's east side, specifically within the boundaries of 9th St. to Gregory Boulevard and The Paseo to Indiana Avenue.

"Now is the time to rise up and mobilize in a greater fashion," said Howard Jr.

The taxpayers we spoke to don't mind paying an eighth of a cent more, but some question where the money is really going to end up. Concerns supporters planned to address that at the Dr. Martin Luther King celebration Monday night.