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Posts Tagged ‘Power & Light District’

Today I want to send out a big plum to The Star’s Kevin Collison for his A-1 story Wednesday on the city acknowledging that it will be subsidizing the Power & Light District to the tune of $10 million to $15 million for the foreseeable future.

This wasn’t a “gotcha” story, however; it was a “that’s-the-way-it-is” story. And it’s been developing for a couple of years. The city’s subsidy, as the story pointed out, was $4.8 million in 2008, $11.5 million last year and is projected to be the same this year. So, the trend has not been good.  

I also want to applaud Collison, The Star’s development reporter, for the tone that he took. It wasn’t like, “Ah, see there, the city screwed this up horribly.” He pointed out that the revenue projections were overly optimistic, and then, of course, along came that thing called the Great Recession.

The story is devoid of “the-sky-is-falling” comments, as it should be. The vast majority of people realize that the Power & Light District has been a great thing for Kansas City. After decades of looking at dilapidated buildings and crumbling sidewalks downtown, we can now take pride in our downtown. From the entertainment standpoint, we stack up well against several other midwestern cities, including St. Louis and Louisville. We are a few steps behind places like Indianapolis and Denver, but at least we’re within shouting distance. 

Did the Cordish Co., the developer, cut a fat hog here? Probably. But what were city officials supposed to do — drive a ridiculously hard bargain and watch Cordish take its proven model (see Baltimore and Louisville) somewhere else? We needed them more than they needed us. So, it’s done, and, as City Councilwoman Deb Hermann said in the story, “Regardless of what the projections were, we need to make it a success.”   

We Kansas Citians like to look over our shoulders at Omaha and try to gauge if it is catching up with us and — God forbid — if it has a chance to surpass us. Well, I’ll tell you, without the Power & Light District, we would have Omaha at our side, and we’d probably be glancing back, with concern, at Lincoln — the proud home of the newest member of the Big Ten Conference.

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