Penguin Park, located at 4124 NE Vivion Rd, may be in consideration for issuance of general obligation (GO) bonds.

The Kansas City Council has approved two questions that will appear on the Nov. 8 general election ballot. If passed, the ballot issues would help stimulate affordable housing in Kansas City, improve public pools and community centers in all districts, and provide essential upgrades to the Kansas City Convention Center. 

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.

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 through the issuance of general obligation (GO) bonds.

First Bond Issue

If approved, the bond issues would not increase taxes or impact the city with additional debt because the issuance of the bonds would correspond with the roll-off of existing bond debt.

“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,” said Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, about the parks and recreation improvements to be made if the first ballot issue is approved.

Swope Park at 3999 Swope Parkway

In addition, the plan would fix historic fountains throughout the city.

In addition, the first ballot question would allocate $45 million to address deferred maintenance needs at the Kansas City Convention Center. These improvements are needed to help the city continue to attract global events and keep the city from losing market share to peer destinations.

Attracting high-quality events helps stimulate the local economy, and create jobs. 

“For six years, Kansas City missed out on about $62 million in economic impact directly tied to the current condition of the Kansas City Convention Center. 

According to KCMO Assistant City Manager and Communications Director Melissa Kozakiewicz, if approved, work on these projects would begin in 2023 with work spread over a five-year period.

Second Bond Issue

Funds from the second ballot question would be used to leverage funding in the Housing Trust Fund, federal funding, and Low-Income Housing Tax Credit to create sustainable housing in neighborhoods that need it the most. If approved, city officials say this would be the biggest single investment in affordable housing ever made by Kansas City.

Recently, the city approved the use of $8.8 million from its Housing Trust Fund to support the building or renovation of about 500 new units of affordable housing. More than 120 units will be transitional housing for those experiencing homelessness, and 20% of the units will create housing opportunities for those at 30% of Area Median Income (AMI) or below. 

In April, Kansas City voters approved issuing $750 million in city revenue bonds for rehabilitating, expanding, and improving the city’s sanitary sewer system.

Simone Garza was a reporter in our Kansas City office. In addition to general reporting on Kansas City’s African-American community, she reports on economic inclusion for the African American community....