East side opposition to city’s bond plan including $10 million for new animal shelter

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- There's growing concern in the African-American community over the city's plan to ask voters for $800 million for roads, sidewalks and other improvements.

Last week some homeless trying to stay warm overnight, set fire to a vacant building in the historic Jazz District, destroying it.

Those who are questioning the city's priorities are citing the fire as an example of what they believe taxpayers should be focusing on: People.

Opponents are upset over what some have called the centerpiece of April's bond election: $10 million for a new animal shelter.

Opponents claim you could build a Taj Mahal for $10 million, and say they can't support spending so much on animals, when so many development needs on the city's east side should be more important.

"You can also fix up a lot of these vacant houses and empty buildings as well," said Pat Clarke, founder of the People's Action Committee, an east side community group. "Ten million dollars! That’s a lot of money, man. But you know the bad part about it, we already have monkeys that have a better roof over their heads than I do."

Supporters claim a new animal shelter would be a public/private partnership, with private donations paying for some of the cost, although the exact split hasn't been determined yet.

KC Pet Project cares for 10,000 animals a year in a cramped facility that's more than 40 years old. The group says a new shelter would perform a valuable service for all of Kansas City.

Clarke's group, PAC 20, is urging voters on the east side to carefully consider what's it in for them, before casting a ballot to support 20 years of tax hikes.