KC Chamber Endorses KCMO Ballot Issues

The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce has voted to support Questions 1 and 2 on the upcoming Kansas City, Missouri November ballot. The vote to support was unanimous in a special meeting of the Chamber’s Executive Committee.

Question 1 would authorize the City to issue general obligation bonds up to $125 million for improvements to the City’s convention center, public pools, parks, and community centers. $80 million will fund critical improvements to the city’s park system including reopening public pools, upgrading community centers and fitness equipment, improving playgrounds, athletic courts, and trails, constructing new spraygrounds and repairing dozens of Kansas City’s famous fountains. All these projects will be overseen by KC’s parks board. Another $45 million would be invested in Bartle Hall and convention center facilities, including the decrepit Barney Allis Plaza Parking Garage. The convention center is one of the city’s biggest economic engines, generating $325 million in economic impact. Currently, the Convention Center has nearly $40 million in deferred capital maintenance, while the Barney Allis parking garage is also in dire need of complete reconstruction – an expense estimated at $100 million-plus.

Question 2 would authorize the issuance of up to $50 million in bonds to provide affordable housing for very low-to-moderate income households. This would mark the largest investment in affordable housing in city history, generating thousands of units of much-needed affordable housing over five years. The bond issue will provide funding for Kansas City’s Housing Trust Fund. The Fund was created in 2018 and is overseen by the KC Housing Department and the Housing Trust Fund Community Advisory Board, the City Council, and the Mayor.

Neither question involves a tax increase – new bonds would be issued as existing debt rolls off.

Members of the Executive Committee noted the importance of affordable housing to maintain a healthy workforce as well as the need for maintenance and upgrade of important regional facilities.