June 9, 2018

Central City Economic Development Sales Tax Board accepting project proposals

The Central City Economic Development Sales Tax Board is requesting proposals for economic development projects along the Prospect Avenue corridor. The approved projects will be funded by the one-eighth-cent sales tax that Kansas City, Missouri, voters passed in April 2017.

This tax will run for 10 years and is expected to generate about $10 million annually. The tax receipts will fund economic development in the area bounded by Ninth Street on the north, Gregory Boulevard on the south, the Paseo on the west and Indiana Avenue on the east.

Several public meetings were held so that residents could share their thoughts with the board, which actively sought to obtain as much feedback as possible before officially requesting submissions.

Selection criteria will include the experience and capacity of the team, financial feasibility, leveraging capability, and the positive impact on the community. The issue, which landed on the ballot through an initiative petition, was backed by a coalition of groups concerned with a lack of commercial and residential investment in this core part of the City.

Proposals will be accepted between June 1 and Aug. 2 (4 p.m. deadline). The form can be downloaded from the City’s website at kcmo.gov/cced. Forms also can be obtained via email from centralcitysalestax@kcmo.org or from the 4th floor of City Hall.

The five-member board appointed to provide recommendations for spending the money will review each completed proposal before presenting the top candidates to the City Council to approve. The board members are: Keith Brown, Ron Finley, Herb Hardwick, Melissa Patterson-Hazley and Donna Wilson.

For  more information, contact CCED Staff Liaison Jennifer Tidwell at 816-513-3037.

June 8, 2018

City urges pet owners to take precautions during extreme summer weather

With temperatures rising, the city’s Animal Health & Public Safety Division encourages pet owners to keep a close eye on their ‘furry friends’ to keep them safe this summer. Animal health officers have the followings tips:

  • Keep your pet hydrated by providing it with plenty of water. Keep pets out of the sun and preferably indoors. Be careful not to over-exert them.
  • Symptoms of pet overheating include: excessive panting/difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, weakness, stupor, collapse, seizures, bloody diarrhea, vomit and body temperatures higher than 104 degrees.
  • Animals with flat faces (i.e. Pugs and Persian cats) are more susceptible to heat stroke because they cannot pant as effectively. These types of pets, along with elderly, overweight and/or sick pets, should be kept in air-conditioned settings as much as possible.
  • Do not keep pets in a parked vehicle – not only can this quickly lead to fatal heat stroke, it is illegal.
  • Give your pet a haircut to help prevent overheating. Hair should be shaved to one-inch length, but never down to the skin, as fur offers sun protection. Brushing your cat frequently can help prevent problems caused by excessive heat.

If anyone sees a pet in distress, call (816) 513-1313, the 311 Center or the non-emergency police dispatch line (816) 234-5111 and an animal health officer will be dispatched to the scene.

More information on keeping your pet safe this summer can be found on the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) website at www.aspca.org .

Media can contact Neighborhoods and Housing Services Department Communications/Community Liaison John Baccala at (816) 513-3202 or John.Baccala@kcmo.org

June 7, 2018

Municipal Court improves online payments

New online payment vendor and convenience fee start June 4

Paying your Municipal Court tickets online is about to become even more convenient. Starting Monday, June 4, customers will be able to go online to pay multiple tickets in one transaction.

The court is switching to JetPay, which already handles all other online City payments, so the upgrade should be seamless. JetPay will charge a convenience fee of 2% of the total amount due in addition to a 25 cents transaction fee that applies whether you’re paying one ticket or several at once.

The convenience fee goes directly to JetPay and is not retained by Municipal Court or the City. Online payments can be made with a credit or debit card. There is no fee to search for cases, court dates, bond information or to request a continuance online.

To pay Municipal Court tickets without incurring the convenience fee you may either:

  • Pay in person Monday through Friday at Violations Bureau on the first floor of the courthouse at 511 E. 11th St., between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.You may pay with cash, check, money order, or credit or debit card.
  • Mail a check or money order for the amount payable to “Municipal Court” to P.O. Box 219381, Kansas City, MO 64121-9381. Please write the ticket number(s) of the ticket you are paying in the memo field.

The Court does not accept payments over the phone. Partial or installment payments must be made by mail or in person and cannot be made online.

For more information, contact Benita Jones, public information officer for the Municipal Court, at 816-513-6711 or Benita.Jones@kcmo.org.

May 30, 2018

Proposed developments from Mac Properties

The Hyde Park Neighborhood Association (HPNA) was formed to improve the quality of life of those living, working, or attending institutions within Hyde Park, and it is with that mission in mind that the Board has received input on the Mac Properties developments at Armour and Troost and at 520 E. Armour.
Allan Hallquist, HPNA president, formed a committee of neighbors to discuss the proposed development with Peter Cassel of Mac Properties. Allan has also met with Mac’s attorney, Charles Renner; representatives from the Troost Coalition and Center City Neighborhood Council; and discussed the project in a more casual context with many neighbors. In addition to these discussions, neighbors have given comments and concerns to other Board representatives. Allan has been most sensitive to the comments of homeowners in the 3400 and 3500 blocks of Locust, Cherry, Kenwood, Holmes, Charlotte, Campbell and Harrison and those who live along 36th street, as they will be impacted the most by Mac’s proposed development. Article IX, Section A of HPNA’s Bylaws states that the Association shall support compliance with current zoning ordinances unless the majority of Nearby Neighbors (those property owners whose property is located within 185 feet of the lot boundaries of the property in question) expressly disapprove.
At the HPNA meeting held on May 15, neighbors discussed the proposed development, and Allan heard a consensus saying that the development is desired, but to negotiate some reasonable changes, particularly with regard to the amount of off-street parking. With that in mind, and Charles Renner’s suggestion that Allan submit proposed changes to the plan, Allan wrote an email to Charles offering his understanding of what the majority of Hyde Parkers would support. This was meant to start a dialogue and negotiations to reach mutually acceptable compromise prior to the June 5 City Planning Commission meeting. This email reached some others, and concerns have been expressed regarding the email. The HPNA Board would like to make it clear that this email was not meant to slow down or stop the development, but was sent with careful consideration of the needs and desires of the neighbors most affected.
Those who are interested in learning more about the proposed development may attend a meeting with Mac Properties, the Troost Coalition, and other neighbors tonight, May 30, 7pm at Central Presbyterian Church (3501 Campbell).
As always, HPNA represents neighbors first and will continue to strive to preserve the unique community of our historic neighborhood.
Lydia DeMonte
Corresponding Secretary
Hyde Park Neighborhood Association

May 3, 2018

City improves pedestrian safety in Brookside Neighborhood

New HAWK signal makes crosswalks easier to navigate

The City is upgrading a popular crosswalk. Since many people walk, run, and bike across 63rd Street near Brookside Plaza, the City has installed a HAWK signal to make the crossing safer for all.

A HAWK (high-intensity activated crosswalk signal) helps control vehicular traffic at mid-block crosswalks. The signal is equipped with a voice-command system to aid the visually impaired. Pedestrians can push the button to activate the signal and proceed when a walk sign is displayed, just like a regular traffic-signal crossing.

Here’s what drivers crossing at a HAWK signal need to know:

  1. Flashing yellow begins – slow down
  2. Solid yellow – prepare to stop
  3. Solid red – stop and stay stopped
  4. Flashing red traffic signal – stop, then proceed with caution if no one is present in the crosswalk

There already are several HAWK signals strategically located around the City. A few locations include 37th and Main, near Children’s Mercy Hospital on Gillham Road, and on Meyer Boulevard east of Troost.

The upgrades include new ADA curb ramps and improved sidewalks and are funded by 6th District PIAC dollars. The City’s Public Works department will monitor the new signal and make any needed adjustments.

For more information, please contact Public Works Public Information Officer Beth Breitenstein at Beth.Breitenstein@kcmo.org or by phone at 816-513-2612.

May 2, 2018

City Auditor’s Office recommends strengthening sustainable maintenance of Parks Department’s natural resources

The City Auditor’s Office released an audit of the Parks and Recreation Department’s environmentally sustainable practices for parkland maintenance. The audit focused on whether the department maximizes the use of environmentally sustainable practices to manage its natural resources.

Auditors concluded that the department has a few sustainable practices to preserve and restore parkland ecology. These practices include the planting of some native or regionally appropriate species, the removal of invasive species, pest management in parkland, and environmental planning for natural areas. Beyond these practices, the department’s park landscape maintenance activities largely focus on park aesthetics in the form of ornamental annual flowers and turf grass, both of which are not environmentally sustainable. Auditors determined that the department does not incorporate sustainable practices into many of the activities required to maintain these landscape features including watering, fertilizer and pesticide use, and mowing activities. In addition, although the department has incorporated some environmentally sustainable practices in its policies related to pesticide application, it does not always follow them.

Auditors also determined that the department does not have measurable goals to guide sustainable management of parkland. Most parkland does not have an environmental resource management plan to guide staff and contractors in the sustainable maintenance unique to a park or park type. Additionally, the department’s operations and maintenance manual does not incorporate sustainable maintenance practices.

The audit includes recommendations to strengthen the department’s sustainable maintenance of parkland natural resources. Management agreed with the recommendations.

View the complete report online at http://kcmo.gov/cityauditor/.

For more information, please contact Douglas Jones, City Auditor, at cityauditor@kcmo.org or (816) 513-3300.

KCMO City Council pushes for clean energy initiatives

Who needs the Paris Climate Agreement?

Kansas City, Missouri, is known for its green initiatives built into established programs to help produce a positive effect on the environment and maybe even the bottom line.This environmentally-conscious approach takes center stage during the Business Session on Thursday when the City Council receives a 26-page report highlighting measures to enhance this mission.

The “Feasibility of Clean Energy Initiatives” report was generated after councilmembers last August passed a resolution directing City Manager Troy Schulte to evaluate the implementation of certain methods to advance the City’s environmental goals related to the Paris Climate Agreement (known as the Renewable Energy Now Resolution).

The report contains information that was assembled over a seven-month period. It includes input received from local, state, regional and national sources who volunteered their time to participate in many discussions related to clean energy initiatives.

“The report on evaluating significant clean energy initiatives in Kansas City has positioned us to make major progress in achieving the goals in the City’s climate protection plan and in promoting social equity, environmental quality, and economic vitality for the benefit of all our residents,” said Councilmember Scott Taylor, one the resolution’s co-sponsors.

All of the initiatives are feasible, but some will require additional staff time and effort, with continued assistance from many of the sources that provided contributions to this evaluation, according to the report.

For more information on the report, contact Dennis Murphey at 816-513-3459.