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Northland sewer project to bring jobs, development

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City leaders celebrated the beginning of a $40 million sewer project in the Northland Wednesday morning during a groundbreaking ceremony at Platte Purchase Park.

The 13,000 acre parcel of land has remained relatively undeveloped since the city annexed it in 1962. City leaders passed bond issues in the 1960s and 70s to put in a sewer system, but that money ended up being used for other projects while this land remained undeveloped. Called First and Second Creek Watersheds, it straddles Platte and Clay Counties and stretches east of I-29 near Kansas City International airport to 169 Highway. It spans north from Barry Road to the northern city limits.

"You have to put the sewers in here," said Kansas City Mayor Sly James. "It will open up a lot of development opportunities for the city which will help in terms of tax rolls and things of that nature, bringing more people to the city.

"Sewer projects aren't the sexiest things to talk about, but they are absolutely a necessity. Made possible by voter approved bonds, this $40 million investment will provide the infrastructure necessary for future development in the Northland."

Mayor James expects more than 70,000 new people to move to the area over the next couple of decades as development in that area explodes. City leaders say the focus will first be on housing. As homes are built and people move to the area, schools, churches, grocery stores and other businesses will follow. The development area would provide the potential for Kansas City to expand by 15 percent and bring in more tax revenue to the city.

There are currently several housing developments already built on this tract of land that use temporary sewer substations. Water Services Director Terry Leeds said they will build two brand new sewage substations and take the current six sewage substations offline.

"Between jobs and residential, the potential for growth is huge," said Alicia Stephens, Platte County Economic Development Councilwoman. "The land has been there forever, so to finally have water and sewer in that area is going to make a huge difference to Platte County."

More than 700 jobs are being created by this project, and Water Service officials hope to have the sewer line in the ground by December of 2014.

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