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More fast food options could come to Argentine

Posted: 6:14 PM, May 03, 2017
Updated: 2017-05-03 19:49:04-04

While many metro neighborhoods chase away big-box stores and fast food chains, Argentine has its arms wide open.

A $3.3 million project could soon bring a Wendy's, Pizza Hut, and Dunkin' Donuts to 21st and Metropolitan, across from the Save-A-Lot.

"We literally have nothing, like we only have places to go shop, no where to just grab something and go," long-time resident Elizabeth Davis said.

New to Argentine, Estella Boyer agreed.

"They may make pretty good money just because there's nothing here!" Boyer said.

Argentine is surrounded by highways on three sides and a railway on one side. Neighbors complain any food options other than the recently-built Wal-Mart and Save-A-Lot are miles away. 

"It'd be nice to be able to just stay local; I like to do business local," resident Frank Parra said.

Sonic Drive-In at 35th & Strong was a long-time favorite for residents, and it closed more than five years ago. Residents said there have been no other options since then, except for the store at 32nd & Strong, where at least three Mexican restaurants have opened and closed.

"I wish that it was still there because we could get a little slushie on days you had a good day," Davis said. "We'd just walk right down the hill."

The Board of Commissioners will set a date for a public hearing. Commissioner Ann Murguia of the 3rd District has pushed for more fast food options for years.

"There were a number of young kids and low-income families that didn't have a large skill set for employment that were looking for opportunities close to home," Murguia said.

Murguia said in the 10 years she's been a commissioner, residents have always said fast food is the number one amenity they want. She credits convincing the three fast food retailers to do business in Argentine to the success of Save-A-Lot.

Commissioners will decide on May 11 whether to establish a CID and TIF for the area. An additional one-percent sales tax would be applied to the area. Those revenues plus property tax revenues would help pay off the project.

Murguia is also the executive director of the Argentine Neighborhood Development Association. The group donated a $1.2 million federal grant from Health and Human Services to the project.

"This is not a health initiative," Murguia said. "This is a job creation initiative, and these three businesses will create 71 low-income, entry-level jobs."

Kansas City, Kansas Mayor Mark Holland commented, “We are just beginning the process of evaluating this project, and much more work will need to be completed before we even consider a developer’s agreement. Our next step will be to establish a date for a public hearing. The input we receive at that hearing will help us evaluate the merits of the project and what our next moves will be.”