Redoing historic 18th and Vine sounds great, say council members, but …

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File photo. Announcement of proposal to upgrade 18th and Vine area in April. City Manager Troy Schulte explained the plan as council members Quenton Lucas and Alissia Canaday looked on.

A proposal to spend $27.6 million to upgrade 18th and Vine failed to pass a joint committee meeting Wednesday after a four-hour hearing.

Members of the council finance and planning and zoning committees agreed the project was good for the entire city, but disagreed on much else.

They deadlocked 4-4 on whether to send the proposal to the full council.

The plan was recently released by the city manager as a way to link east and west, carry the Crossroads Arts District into the historic jazz area and center of black culture.

It will not be considered again until another joint committee meeting is set.

Another proposal Wednesday to hold it until July to work out differences also failed on a 5-3 vote.

The proposal called for financing a dozen projects in three phases and set funding for $11.9 million in bonds for the first phase.

No funding source was specified for the other phases, which Councilman Kevin McManus spoke against.

Councilwoman Jolie Justus said she favored the projects but not the ordinance and how it would fund them.

She said the projects should be put into play alongside others for the entire city and addressed in a major bond issue.

Councilman Scott Wagner said there is more than  $6 billion in needed projects citywide and to try to do all of them would be to do none of them.

Councilwoman Katheryn Shields said she wanted to hold the matter after testimony from several residents of the Parade Park apartments.

The apartments, administered by federal Housing and Urban Development, are under consideration for more units with higher market-level rents, Wagner said.

Residents wanted the city to do something to help them and complained they were not consulted when the projects were considered.

Shields said of the projects, “I think this is a good thing but I don’t think we should do it at the expense of the minority families who live there now.”

Councilman Quinton Lucas argued for moving forward to help a historic area that was left to languish too long in the past.

Councilwoman Alissia Canady, who spoke from the audience and could not vote, said, “I would hope the community would understand there is a willingness to do something.”

One Comment

  1. Diane Capps says:

    I’d like to see some money going into 18th & Vine but 27.6 million seems a bit excessive! I DO hope that the remaining facade of the Eblon Theatre at 20th and Vine will be stabilized at the very least–and maybe even have a bldg. added on behind it! The Eblon is where Count Basie first worked when he came to KC–accompanying silent films!! Also: James Scott, considered to be second only to Scott Joplin (King of Ragtime) in composing this infectious music–performed there, too! A bronze plaque should be placed in front of the structure, explaining its illustrious history!

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