KC Chamber Board Votes to Oppose Jackson County Charter Amendments; Revises Big 5 Conservatory Goal

The Board of Directors of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce took the following actions in its September Board meeting September 17.

“No” to proposed Jackson County Charter Amendments

The Chamber Board unanimously voted to oppose the proposed Jackson County Charter Amendments that will appear on the upcoming November ballot. The lack of citizen input into the proposals is the primary reason for the Board’s opposition.

In August, the Chamber sent identical letters to the County Executive and County Legislature asking that the amendments be removed from the November ballot and asked that a charter review commission be appointed to, among other things, collect citizen and business input and to then recommend appropriate changes to the county charter to be voted on at a later date.

A citizens charter commission is the usual process and considered good government practice when a city or county considers charter changes.

Revised Big 5 goal for UMKC Conservatory

The KC Chamber Board also voted unanimously to change its Big 5 initiative from “Moving UMKC’s World-Class Arts Programs to a New Downtown Location” to “Building a New World-Class Conservatory at UMKC.”

The action follows the university’s decision to restrict the site for the new facility within 2.5 miles of the campus. The Chamber Board’s vote reflects the position that replacement of the Conservatory’s current outdated facilities is of primary concern. The Conservatory must have amenities that equal the quality of its music, dance, and theater faculty and students.

In addition, conditions have changed since 2011 when the Chamber first announced its goal to move the Conservatory to a new downtown location.

  • With the merger of the Conservatory and theater departments, the scope of the project has grown and the Crossroads site is no longer viable.
  • The expansion of the KC Streetcar will create a synergy between the UMKC Volker campus and the Kauffman PAC that wasn’t imaginable in 2011.
  • UMKC and Greater Kansas City cannot afford to delay this project any further and a location outside of the indicated area threatens the University’s deadline to have a plan in place by 2020 to ensure continued accreditation.