Editor’s note: Kansas City voters are preparing to elect a new mayor to replace Mayor Sly James, who has reached the end of his two-term limit.
The mayoral primary will be April 2 followed by the general election on June 18.
CityScene KC has reached out to the leading candidates for their opinions on several downtown issues and is grateful for their responses.
Each have been asked the same questions and their responses will be posted individually over the next two weeks.
What is your take on the current state of greater downtown today and what would your goals be for the area if you were elected mayor?
We can only be a successful city if we have successful neighborhoods. Neighborhoods with high quality housing that working families and senior citizens can afford.
Investments in giving our citizens the skills and reliable transportation to thrive as a neighborhood and community.
Downtown is a neighborhood. As a downtown business owner and former resident of Union Hill, my goals are to see a safe and successful community in the heart of our city.
What would be your approach to using tax incentives to assist downtown redevelopment? If you don’t believe further incentives are needed, why?
As a business owner, I have used New Market Tax Credits, Low Income Housing Tax Credits and other complicated financial tools to bring $1.4 billion of investment to communities nationwide.
As a member of the TIF commission, I supported the use of tax incentives on projects that provide quality jobs and tangible community benefits where the need for the incentive was clearly and convincingly documented.
When Kansas City grants a tax incentives we, the public, become investors in that development. As investors, we have the right to expect a return on our investment in the form of quality jobs, affordable housing and blight remediation.
If a project can deliver those returns for taxpayers and the need is clearly and convincingly documented, I will support it. If it doesn’t, I won’t.
Are there types of projects (residential, office, hotel, entertainment, etc.) that you believe no longer need tax incentives? If so, what are they and why?
When it comes to tax incentives, the type of project is less important to me than the community impacts it plans to deliver.
As the only business owner running for Mayor I have invested in residential, office, hotel and many other asset classes. I don’t believe any specific type of project does or doesn’t need tax incentives.
Each project must be evaluated in a context that includes its location, the community impacts it can deliver and return on investment for the taxpayers.
There are several ‘big ideas’ being discussed for greater downtown’s future. What’s your position on the following?
A downtown ballpark for the Royals?
Decking the South Loop with a park?
Reuniting the River Market with Columbus Park by lowering Missouri 9 to grade and reconnecting Independence Avenue?
Encouraging development along the 18th Street corridor to help connect the East Crossroads and 18th & Vine Jazz District?
Extending the streetcar to the riverfront and UMKC?
What’s your position on retaining City Manager Troy Schulte?
I look forward to working with the next City Council to ensure the position of City Manager is occupied by the best possible professional to deliver high quality services to all Kansas Citians.
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