City Council delays decision on 18th and Vine District funding

Posted at 4:07 PM, Jul 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-07 17:39:06-04

Jazz Speaks for Life is a new exhibit at the American Jazz Museum that shines the light on an old movement by examining Jazz's role in Civil Rights.

"I talk about the Civil Rights Era a lot simply because there is a bridge," said Sheri Hall, a spoken word poet. "I don't believe the civil rights era ever stopped. It has mutated and transformed over the years because we are still fighting for rights today."


Jazz Speaks for Life at the American Jazz Museum


Hall, who goes by 'Purpose' on-stage, is among the artists, dancers, writers and musicians fighting to breathe new life into the 18th and Vine District.

"It is important to preserve this neighborhood because it is a piece of our history. Kansas City history is not complete without this neighborhood," she said.

That's why she and others await the Kansas City city council's multi-million-dollar decision on funding the continued revitalization of the 18th and Vine District.


Jazz Speaks for Life at the American Jazz Museum


"We, at the American Jazz Museum, are really about the heritage of the city, the heritage of jazz," said the museum's executive director Cheptoo Kositany-Buckner. "Kansas City is one of the four pillars of jazz - New York, Chicago, New Orleans and Kansas City - and I think it is important for us to remember our heritage and elevate it."

But, the museum reports there's only so much programming it can provide. That's why Kositany-Buckner urges the city to put more money into the neighborhood.

Jazz Speaks for Life at the American Jazz Museum

"You can make every other part of the city successful but if one area is not successful, it's not going to be a successful city. It's important that we invest in all our communities," said Kositany-Buckner.

The city has already invested close to $100 million into the still struggling Jazz District. For this reason, some critics say the money would be better spent elsewhere.

On Thursday afternoon, the City Council voted to delay the decision on funding.


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