By LESLIE COLLINS
June 12, 2013
Multi-hued balloons and flags from around the world dotted the parking lot of the former post office on Independence Avenue. Upbeat music blared in the background as attendees lined up at the local food trucks and at the nearby Dairy Barn.
June 7 marked a celebration, the culmination of years of diligent work. All in attendance were celebrating the passage of the Independence Avenue Community Improvement District (CID), which will fund a variety of initiatives, like urban ambassadors who will assist in litter abatement and greeting pedestrians, marketing of the avenue, reducing crime, beautifying the avenue and others.
“I’m excited about the turnout,” Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce President Bobbi Baker-Hughes said. “The celebration is exactly what we needed as a community. We need to celebrate what we are, what we have and what we are becoming.”
Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce hosted the event, which attracted residents from across the community and city and county leaders.
Funding for the CID will come through a yearly assessment of $300 per parcel located within the CID boundaries and most likely through a 1 percent sales tax within the CID boundaries. Establishing the sales tax requires a majority vote of the registered voters within the CID boundaries. Boundaries of the full CID include both sides of Independence Avenue between The Paseo on the west and Newton Avenue on the east.
Establishing the CID wouldn’t have been possible without the city’s newly established CID/NID (Neighborhood Improvement District) Revolving Loan Fund. The Northeast Chamber was the first to benefit from the fund and received $40,000 to cover attorney fees and start-up costs of forming a CID.
“It’s a long time coming, but a change is going to come and the CID is the change,” said Micah Kubic, program officer with Greater Kansas City Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). “It’s the change that residents and businesses have been asking for for a long time.”
Kubic added that LISC will continue to partner with the CID to help it triumph.
Kansas City Manager Troy Schulte said he envisions the Northeast CID will become just as successful as the Downtown CID, which was formed 10 years ago and made great strides in the area.
“I think it’s the first of many great things to come for the whole Northeast area,” Schulte said. “I’m tickled to death to see this happen. The sky’s the limit for Independence Avenue.”