Abby Hoover
Managing Editor

The Kansas City Council has approved two questions to be placed on the Nov. 8 general election ballot which, if passed, would help stimulate affordable housing throughout Kansas City, upgrade the City’s community centers and public pools in all districts, and provide upgrades to the Kansas City Convention Center.

Passage of these bond measures would not increase taxes, nor would they burden the City with additional debt because the issuance of these bonds would coincide with the roll-off of existing bond debt, according to a City press release.

“I am proud voters will see on a November ballot a bond measure I proposed with strong Council support, which would address deferred maintenance at our 10 community centers, would open pools equitably throughout our City, and would ensure children and families in all neighborhoods have playgrounds and parks that work for them,” Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said. “The bond would importantly also dedicate $50 million to the City’s Housing Trust Fund — the single largest investment in affordable housing ever made by Kansas City to ensure folks of all income levels can call Kansas City home. We will keep engaging with folks in all areas of Kansas City to ensure public facilities are open, safe, and accessible for all of our children and families — in all Kansas City neighborhoods.”

The first question will ask Kansas City voters whether the City should invest up to $125 million to improve parks, recreation and entertainment facilities through the issuance of general obligation (GO) bonds. If passed, the measure would approve nearly $80 million in bonds over a five-year period which would allow the City to provide upgrades to Kansas City’s 10 community centers; to reopen now-shuttered public pools equitably; to fix historic fountains throughout the City of Fountains; among other necessary upgrades to several public parks — ensuring all Kansas City children and families have equitable access to our community’s public spaces.

The first ballot question, if passed, would also allow the City to allocate $45 million to address deferred maintenance needs at the Kansas City Convention Center — not only ensuring Kansas City is well-prepared for the global events we’re proud to host over the coming years, but also ensuring Kansas City can continue to recruit such events — stimulating our local economy and creating jobs in our community. Since 2016, Kansas City has missed out on an estimated $62 million in economic impact directly tied to the current condition of the Kansas City Convention Center. Without additional investment, Kansas City is at risk of losing additional market share to peer destinations, which would further erode the economic impact of this community asset.

The second ballot question will ask voters whether the City should invest up to $50 million in housing creation and preservation; transitional and supportive housing; and homeownership opportunities. The bond funding would be used to leverage existing funding in the Housing Trust Fund, federal funding, and the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit to create sustainable housing in neighborhoods most in need — and would be the largest single investment in affordable housing ever made by the City of Kansas City. In its first award cycle this year, the Housing Trust Fund funded nearly 500 new units of affordable housing —more than 120 units of which will be transitional housing for those experiencing homelessness, and 20 percent of all units will create housing opportunities for those at 30 percent of Area Median Income (AMI) or below.

The ballot language reads as follows:

Question No. 1
Shall the City of Kansas City, Missouri issue its general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $125,000,000.00 for the purpose of paying for the acquisition, construction, renovation, improvement, equipping, and furnishing of City parks, recreation, and entertainment facilities? 

Question No. 2
Shall the City of Kansas City, Missouri issue its general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $50,000,000.00 for the purpose of affordable housing through the rehabilitation, renovation, and construction of houses and buildings, including blight removal, to provide affordable housing for very low- to moderate-income households?