Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Bay Waterpark Wins Cornerstone Award

By Mary Wilson
This week at the annual Cornerstone Awards of the Economic Development Corporation, awards for projects that contribute to Kansas City’s economic strength and vitality were given, and The Bay waterpark was nominated in the public area and won.
The award, present to the Kansas City Parks Department, was given on Monday, May 13. John Sharp, 6th District Councilman, shared with the South Kansas City Alliance at their meeting.
“I wanted to share this tonight specifically with Vanessa (Claborn-Welch) and Stacey (Johnson-Cosby) because it was PIAC funds that helped develop The Bay,” said Sharp. “Now we’ve got the award for the top project in all of Kansas City, as far as public projects adding to the economic development of the city.”
The Bay has already received an award by The Pitch newspaper as the best public pool in the metro. Sharp also said that with the development in that area, it will lead to announcements soon of the redevelopment of the grocery store in Longview Square.
“I guarantee there wasn’t any interest in doing that until we opened the waterpark and made improvements along
Longview Road,” said Sharp.
South KC Alliance members sent emails to all of Missouri’s general assembly in regards to their support of the Land Assemblage Tax Credit that would have helped jumpstart the redevelopment of Bannister Mall. While not supportive of the program, Governor Jay Nixon offered other things that the state could do to help with the redevelopment.
“I told our legislators when I was down there last week that if there are other things we can do, let’s do them,” said Sharp. “This thing’s been sitting here for years. If you’ve got some other tools, let’s use them.”
Last week, an agreement was reached with the principles of the redevelopment group that intends to redevelop Bannister Mall, and Governor Nixon has agreed to provide $10 million more in assistance from the Missouri Development Finance Board for the Bannister Mall redevelopment in return for not pushing the Land Assemblage
Tax Credit laws.
“We don’t really care where the aide comes from,” said Sharp. “We just want the assistance and we want to see bulldozers and see things coming up out of the ground. But believe me, we would not have gotten that additional assistance if we hadn’t had strong support for that legislation that the governor wasn’t wild about. The fact that he thought it could pass was what brought him to the table, in my opinion.”
According to Sharp, the developers felt confident that in a short time, residents of that area will see action at Bannister Mall.
Also at the meeting, Michael Patillo, the Kansas City Land Bank Operations Manager, answered some questions regarding the Land Bank procedures and the effect it will have on South Kansas City blighted properties.
The next regular meeting for the South Kansas City Alliance will be on Monday, June 10. Time and location information will be available in the Advocate closer to the meeting date.

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