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KANSAS CITY, MO – Revitalizing downtown Kansas City is high on the priority list of many city officials, and it’s becoming more apparent that it is also going to be high on the list of expenditures.Ê At a recent meeting, members of the Downtown Council and the Kansas City Public Improvements Advisory Committee called for support for Mayor Kay Barnes plans for housing-based revitalization, as well as the monies to make the infrastructure sufficient to support change and growth.

The PIAC is ready to recommend its five-year financing program that will begin with the city government’s fiscal year May 1. The plan is updated each year and is considered by the City Council at its budget meetings. PIAC funding is generated by a 1¢ city sales tax. Of the PIAC’s $27 million annual revenue roll, about 4% goes downtown. PIAC members are showing support to increase the amount up to 10%.

One downtown project that is high on the priority list is nearly $5 million for traffic improvements in the Quality Hill area, on the west edge of downtown and on the northern edge of the Bartle Hall convention center. It is hoped that by coordinating traffic signals that traffic jams from the convention center to the Broadway Bridge will be alleviated.

“The public works project of the PIAC in the convention center district will cover an area from Bartle Hall, across the river to the Northland,” says Kent Crippin, Downtown Council member. “We need to road improvements, as well as upgraded infrastructue. We also need to improve intersections and streetscapes. Work should begin this spring.”

Other improvements calling for the PIAC’s attention include an annual budget for dangerous building demolition, upgrades to the Broadway Bridge, streetscape enhancements in the City Market and infrastructure improvements in the Beacon Hill neighborhood, which is currently undergoing revitalization on the city’s impoverished east side.

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