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Multiple city efforts underway to revive East KC

Posted: 9:04 PM, Nov 15, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-16 04:30:43Z

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — All around the East Side of the city, you'll find signs of change.

"I've seen a new grocery store, a new filling station," said Bettye Jackson, a longtime Ivanhoe resident.

Then there's the Ivanhoe Gateway at 39th, an affordable housing development that includes cottages for seniors. It's where Bettye Jackson lives.

"Now we have an upsurge because I see families moving back in," she said of the neighborhood.

The development is an initiative by the Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council. Their plans to build eight more just received a major boost.

The Central City Economic Development Sales Tax

The neighborhood council's cottages for seniors is one of seven projects recommended to receive funding from a sales tax passed in April 2017.

The one-eighth-cent sales tax is expected to generate about $10 million annually, which will be used for economic development projects along the Prospect Avenue corridor. 

The Central City Economic Development Sales Tax Board began accepting proposals in June. This month, they recommended the following projects, which still need to be approved by KCMO City Council:

  • Community Builders of Kansas City: Renovation for entrepreneur space at 5008 Prospect, $627,785
  • Linwood Shopping Square: Renovation of retail shopping center, $2,389,146
  • Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council: Senior cottages at 39th Street, $933,840
  • National Association of Construction Cooperatives: Rehabilitation of homes throughout the district, $215,000
  • MACPEN Enterprise: Construction of childcare center with services, $1,000,000
  • Neighbors United: Rehabilitation of homes for disabled/veterans, $205,951

The projects, which add up to $6.1 million of investment, were selected for job creation, meeting needs in the community and having experienced project leaders.

"Revive the East Side" Initiative 

Inside City Hall on Thursday, another major investment for the East Side got the green light from council members. 

Councilman Scott Taylor's "Revive the East Side" initiative was introduced more than a year ago and held eight times before passing. 

"We worked with a lot of citizens for the past year to put this together," Taylor said.

The plan will direct the City Manager to:

  • Identify $10 million for a home improvement and economic development fund
  • Establish a pilot program to reduce illegal dumping
  • Streamline the application process for projects 
  • Appropriate $3 million for preservation or reconstruction of dangerous buildings

"This was to bring new funds and new incentives to the East Side to make it easier for job creation and investment," Taylor said.

During Thursday's meeting, Councilman Jermaine Reed remained skeptical of the funding mechanism for the ambitious plan.

"The item we have before us only provides, in my opinion, false hope," he told members.

The "Revive the East Side" ordinance passed with dissent from only Reed, Hall and Fowler.

41 Action News asked the sponsor how his plan will fit in with efforts already underway to invest on the East Side.

"We are actually collaborating more I think, and a lot of groups are now talking about working together," Taylor said.

The councilman said he will soon have a meeting with some of the other leaders working on the East Side. He hopes that will ensure efforts aren't duplicated.