WRITTEN BY: Rod Richardson
PHOTOS BY: Jose Gonzalez + Karen Lim
Year Two of the ambitious 20-year plan to invest $800 million to improve the City’s aging streets, sidewalks, bridges and buildings is moving right along at an impressive and productive pace. If all goes as planned, more than $62 million will be spent to continue our multi-million makeover.
The second year of the GO KC program focuses on major road repairs, bridges and sidewalks, with some $42 million dedicated to such projects. These long-deferred projects will be easy to recognize around town because they will carry the GO KC brand.
Kansas City voters approved $800 million in bonds in April 2017 to fund a capital improvements program for streets, sidewalks, flood control and other infrastructure needs over the next 20 years. Capital improvement projects may include new construction or renovation of city buildings, reconstruction of streets, repairing or constructing sidewalks as well as making public areas compliant with the American Disabilities Act (ADA).
Starlight Theatre has long been an outstanding venue for memorable and entertaining events. However, patrons with disabilities have found it difficult to fully enjoy the facility because of upgrades needed to make it ADA compliant. So work started in January 2018 to construct accessible routes from the parking lots, concession areas and restrooms. These improvements are largely completed.
The $5 million upgrades at Starlight will continue into 2019, leaving behind a beautiful and iconic public stadium that’s far easier for disabled customers to navigate.
One of the major selling points for residents was the promise to create a city-funded sidewalk repair program that would eliminate homeowner assessments. To that end, some $150 million is being dedicated to sidewalks.
This completely changes the way the City repairs sidewalks. The bonds create the revenue needed to allow the City to pay for residential sidewalk repairs, rather than charging homeowners. This program will systematically evaluate, repair and replace sidewalks with the goal being to make it through two citywide cycles over 20 years. In Year Two, $5 million is budgeted for sidewalks.
Of course, street improvements will again garner plenty of attention. Revamping Maplewoods Parkway from NE 96th Street to Shoal Creek Parkway is at the top of the Year Two agenda. Appraisals are complete and offer letters have been sent to all affected property owners. Once the utilities have been relocated, roadway construction can begin. The plan calls for this work to start in spring 2019. The estimated cost for the project is about $7 million.
Paseo Gateway is another major undertaking slated for significant work in Year Two. This $14 million project is scheduled to get a $4 million GO KC cash infusion so that right-of-way acquisition can be completed along with utility relocation by late fall. Roadway construction should begin in 2019.
But it’s not just roads and bridges grabbing headlines in GO KC’s second year. Public buildings will see about $12 million in improvements, with $4 million set aside for the Kansas City Museum. Demolition began on the basement about a year ago and renovation has moved to the first, second and third floors with installation of lighting, security, fire alarms, data and audio visual systems. Construction is scheduled to be completed in spring 2019 with exhibition fabrication and installation starting a few weeks later.
The decision to build a $32 million state-of-the-art animal shelter was another popular element in this bond package. This public-private partnership is underway with about $3.5 million budgeted for Year Two. Grading work has started and finalized drawings and plans are being reviewed by City Planning & Development.
For more information, visit kcmo.gov/gokc.