By LESLIE COLLINS
March 18, 2013
During the March 7 public hearing, no opposition was voiced regarding the proposed Community Improvement District along Independence Avenue.
“We had several (Independence Avenue) property owners there, all in support,” Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce President Bobbi Baker Hughes said. “All of the (city) council spoke very highly of the effort of the initiative and they all spoke of how there was such a need on the Avenue for that particular tool for economic development.”
Establishing a CID will fund a number of initiatives along the Avenue ranging from security improvements to litter abatement to capital improvements to marketing the Avenue to economic development, among others. Proposed boundaries of the CID include both sides of Independence Avenue between The Paseo on the west and Newton Avenue on the east. Funding will come through a yearly assessment of $300 per parcel located within the CID boundaries and through a 1 percent sales tax within the CID boundaries.
“I’d just like to congratulate the people who have worked hard to make this a reality,” City Council member Jan Marcason said. “It (Northeast) really is a wonderful community. I applaud your efforts; it’s not easy to get this done. It (CID) has worked really well in other areas of the city and I have every confidence it’s going to be a great thing for the Northeast. Things are going to continue to blossom.”
As a former resident of Northeast, City Council member Scott Wagner said he understands the challenges along Independence Avenue, which include litter, prostitution, loitering, among other issues.
“My guess is at the end of the day the investment that gets put in by every individual business will come back many fold because of the people out on the streets who are helping to show that there’s activity and it’s positive activity,” Wagner said.
That positive momentum can also spur redevelopment opportunities, he said.
Mayor Pro Tem Cindy Circo added that established CIDs across the city continue to demonstrate successful outcomes.
“Time and time again it’s proven itself that the CID and the investment to the CID makes a significant change in the area where property values are going up and crime is going down and people are coming back and investing,” Circo said. “There’s so much going on in Northeast and there’s so much potential. This (CID) is exactly what’s needed there at this time. I feel confident that in a shorter period of time rather than a longer period of time, you will see the benefits of your investment.”
During the hearing, the city council unanimously voted to request that the city attorney create an ordinance to approve the petition and establish the Independence Avenue CID.
The CID proposal will now go before the city’s Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Committee at 1:30 p.m. March 20, which was originally scheduled for March 13. The meeting will be held in the council chamber located on the 26th floor of City Hall, 414 E. 12th St. The proposed CID is expected to go before the full council at 3 p.m. March 21 for final approval. Area residents are encouraged to attend to voice their support of the CID.