Like many areas of Kansas City, the Northeast is continuously seeking funding for updates to help keep the neighborhoods in great shape.
The City’s Public Improvements Advisory Committee (PIAC), takes requests from the public and neighborhood associations.
“We meet with the public twice a year, and we get one virtually in June,” said Jim Wanser, District 4 PIAC representative. “Then we meet with the department heads of the City who will also present projects that they are seeking project funding for, so we really appreciate both the citizens and the City departments.”
On average, PIAC grants around $4 million per district to use on renovations or upgrades.
“We really focus on livability, safety, walkability, things that just simply make a neighborhood a better place for people to enjoy,” Wanser said.
Improvements range from anywhere to curb repairs and speed bumps, to erosion control and park improvements.
“What residents in the neighborhood often talk about is the nuisance with dangerous driving,” said president of the Pendleton Heights Neighborhood Association Chris Binkley. “So like speed bumps, roundabouts, and also gun fire. We focus mostly to make progress on that not only with PIAC funding but with programming, positive programming. Activating the community in a positive way.”
The application process for putting in a request starts with introducing the requests at the initial PIAC session with the request then being submitted through an online form that asks basic questions on funding, contact information, and the problem and potential solution for residents’ requests.
“Because of limited resources, it’s always a great number of applications that are great projects,” Wanser said. “But that we simply don’t have the resources for. And for the bigger projects, sometimes we try and break them down over multiple years. We do encourage people if they’re not funded to reapply, it has taken several years for people to have their project funded.”
The average time from the first meeting to the day a PIAC-funded project is completed is an average of two and a half years.
“That’s sometimes a little disconcerting to citizens because they think once they get the approval letter, it’s going to happen next week, and really what the City departments have to do – like Public Works, Water, Parks and Rec – they have to work it into their schedule,” Wanser said. “Also, they sometimes have to find additional resources. We try not to let the projects get held up.”
A big revitalization project that is being talked about is how to help bring positive use to Kessler Park.
“When I talk for Pendleton Heights, there’s these mythical big projects that we’re always trying to figure out how to do, but they take tons of money,” Brinkley said. “We’re trying to think of how to maybe make that like a waterpark, there’s all kinds of ideas like a skate park or something that would bring positive use to that corner of Kessler Park.”
The next deadline to submit a request is August 31, and applicants can keep updating it up until October 1 when the PIAC committee will then start evaluating the requests.
Council District Four held a public PIAC meeting August 2 at Liberty Memorial.
For more information on PIAC and how to submit a request go to https://www.kcmo.gov/programs-initiatives/public-improvements-advisory-committee-piac