• Nathan Duvall

Kansas City Public Schools Advocacy ENews

Updated: Dec 18, 2021

November 30, 2021

The grassy area near 27th Street, between Main and Grand, could soon be home to a new office tower — one funded in part by public subsidy. Fidelity Security Life Insurance, currently located just a few blocks away at 31st and Broadway, wants tax breaks for 15 years to build a new high-end private office space. As is frequently the case, other than the design, one of the main expenses of this project is the structured parking. This is particularly distressing as the proposed location is along the taxpayer-funded streetcar extension and is near several under-utilized parking garages. KCPS doesn’t believe Kansas City’s kids should have to subsidize private parking garages, especially along the streetcar route. The KCPS Team has asked the City to push for a shared parking agreement between this development and their neighbors, Crown Center. (Crown Center has benefitted from decades of public support.) We remain optimistic that this can happen here — driving down the cost of this project and serving as a model for additional development projects downtown (where we know, per the City Auditor, there is already a surplus of parking). Even with the structured parking and the costly building design, this project does not need more than 10 years of public support, per the financial analysis. Giving a company already located in Kansas City more than is needed to build a new, fancier building would be an extremely concerning move by City Hall. Kansas City Public Schools continues to stress: every single dollar that we over-incentivize a project is a dollar not going to support vital public education services. While KCPS is not anti-development and knows some projects do need public support, the practice of giving developers more than is absolutely necessary has gone on far too long and has led to a significant loss in potential revenues for KCPS. For more information on why KCPS is involved in economic development and why practices in Kansas City are an equity issue, please see our tax incentives webpage.


2700 GRAND: Please contact Mayor Quinton Lucas and your City Council members and urge them not to support 15 years of property tax abatement for a new office tower near Crown Center (Ordinance 211016). Please be sure to cc: public.testimony@kcmo.org so that your email will be shared with the Council Committee that will consider the abatement request. If you would like to testify in person, there will likely be an opportunity to do so at the public hearing on Wednesday, December 1, at 1:30 p.m.


2700 GRAND: Ordinance 2011016 (detailed above) is asking for 15 years of public support to build Fidelity Security Life Insurance Company a new office tower just blocks from their current location. The building, which will be owner-occupied, does not need more than 10 years of incentive per the independent financial analysis. EEZ: Enhanced Enterprise Zones are one of the many property tax incentive tools used by developers in Kansas City. Ordinance 211025 is essentially a clean-up Ordinance as it’s codifying what has been practice for years — that this tool is used for jobs projects, not residential ones. This comes in the wake of several development attorneys moving forward with proposed residential projects. If this tool is used to build housing, it could have a significant impact on many School Districts, including our neighbors in Center, Hickman, Grandview and North Kansas City. The Cooperating School Districts of Greater Kansas City stands with KCPS and other School Districts in support of this Ordinance. ADVANCE KC: The Advance KC Scorecard is a tool the City uses to grade (or score) proposed development projects. Prompted in part by Dr. Mark Bedell’s call for a more equitable approach to development, the City is seeking to revamp this tool. Currently, a Standing Committee comprised of community stakeholders, including a representative from Kansas City Public Schools, is working through what an updated scorecard could look like. While we are grateful to be included in this process, KCPS continues to be concerned about the taxing jurisdictions being sidelined and about a lack of policy direction when it comes to identifying specific City priorities. Stay Informed

We cannot do this work alone, and we appreciate the opportunity to share our policy priorities. Have questions about any of the information we shared today? Want to know more about advocating for KCPS? Email Kathleen Pointer, Senior Policy Strategist, at kpointer@kcpublicschools.org.

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