Kansas City leaders, Sen. Roy Blunt and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver announced Friday the first step to realizing a new vision for the South Loop Link. Efforts to build this innovative open space will begin with planning and design teams who will create a destination park in the heart of downtown.
Private investments from local property owners and other stakeholders will fund the engineering and design phase which is expected to take 12 to 18 months. State and federal partners have indicated strong support for funding the full construction cost.
“Kansas City is already a great place to live, work, and visit, and the South Loop Link project will make it even better,” said Sen. Roy Blunt. “With its central location, proximity to top colleges and universities, and new opportunities in agriculture and biomedical research, the Kansas City area is well-positioned for continued growth and economic development. Smart infrastructure investments like this one will improve the quality of life and give families and businesses alike more reason to make a long-term commitment to the area. I’m proud to join Mayor Lucas, Congressman Cleaver, Governor Parson, and all of the local stakeholders who are working together to move this project forward.”
“Today is an exciting day in Kansas City as we announce significant progress made to build a lid over I-670 as part of our efforts to continue building our downtown corridor for residents, visitors, and businesses,” said Mayor Lucas. “Not only will this park create a more exciting and immersive experience for all who spend time downtown, but it will help significantly reduce noise and air pollution from the highway, creating healthier communities. I thank Senator Roy Blunt, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, Governor Mike Parson, and all who have worked to make this project a reality.”
The South Loop Link project will create a new outdoor amenity for residents, visitors and downtown employees covering 5.5-acres over Interstate 670 from Wyandotte Street to Grand Boulevard. This park will connect neighborhoods previously separated by highway 670, create much needed public park and green space for downtown, add green infrastructure and trees, and reduce environmental impacts of the highway below. It will also potentially include a green mobility hub with easy access to multimodal transportation, regional job access, healthy living space, playgrounds, dog parks, arts and amphitheater programming and other opportunities for social engagement.
The City of Kansas City has partnered with the Downtown Council to apply for state and federal funding for this project.
“The South Loop Link has been identified as a catalytic project in the Imagine Downtown KC 2030 Strategic Plan,” said Bill Dietrich, Downtown Council President & CEO. “It is an opportunity to physically unite the Central Business District and the Crossroads Arts District with a destination park featuring an open green lawn, public art, and outdoor seating with shade structures. It’s a game-changer located in the heart of Downtown KC.”
“Congratulations to Kansas City for moving this important project forward. This announcement is the manifestation of persistence and is made possible through extensive public and private cooperation,” said Missouri Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe. “I look forward to the completion of this transformative project connecting the north and south sides of downtown.”
Loews Hotels & Co, owner and operator of the Loews Kansas City Hotel, has already offered financial support for the planning of the South Loop Link.
The estimated cost of the total project is approximately $160 million, an amount that is subject to change as the design process proceeds. The Downtown Council estimates that when fully built, the project will unlock significant development opportunities in the 50-acre Crossroads area south of 670, boost nearby real estate values by more than $90 million, and catalyze a $490 million in economic impact, yielding a 4:1 leverage on the total initial investment.
The improvement also would maximize the community’s $2.3 billion investments in the Power & Light District, T-Mobile Center, the Loews Kansas City Hotel, the Kauffman Performing Arts Center, and the KC Streetcar.