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Archive for Thursday, November 29, 2001

KC mayor to unveil plan Friday for major downtown revitalization

November 29, 2001

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— Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes is finishing work on her master plan for downtown revitalization, which could include a new arena. The plan would call for a new development authority to carry out the major projects in the next six years.

She said Wednesday that she would hold a news conference on Friday to unveil the plan.

It is expected to borrow heavily from the Downtown Corridor Development Strategy report, also known as the Sasaki plan, released last spring by the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City.

The Sasaki plan, named after the Massachusetts firm that prepared it, called for assisting a planned performing arts center, fostering development near the refurbished Union Station, building parking garages and building a new arena.

Barnes has said a financial formula for renovating the Truman Sports Complex home to the Chiefs and the Royals but not located downtown would be in her proposal.

Barnes said Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt and Royals owner David Glass would be at Friday's news conference.

"I think she has the idea that there has to be a whole series of projects to make downtown as attractive as possible," Bill Hall, chairman of the Kansas City Sports Commission, told The Kansas City Star for a story in Wednesday's editions. "She wants to plan, and ultimately build, a downtown arena."

Civic leaders have said Kansas City needs to upgrade or replace Kemper Arena, located in the West Bottoms, if it wants to secure its spot in the Big 12 conference basketball tournament rotation.

The total cost of the plan could approach $1 billion and would be financed with public and private funds. Gov. Bob Holden has made downtown revitalization efforts a condition of his approving state funding for any stadiums.

But persuading lawmakers to provide state funds for the plan could prove difficult. The state has trimmed $323 million from this year's budget and is expected to cut an additional $100 million next month.

The revenue situation is expected to grow even tighter. The federal tax cut approved last summer will reduce state revenue by a projected $1.84 billion in the next 10 years.

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