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Following governor’s veto, performing arts enthusiasts hold out hope for UMKC arts campus funding

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Disheartening is what performing arts lovers are calling Governor Eric Greitens` veto that halts funding half of a new performing arts campus for UMKC.

The campus would sit on a now vacant lot across the street from the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts. The University of Missouri system is sounding confident it will secure the alternative funding for the proposed campus, which is a sigh of relief to performing arts lovers who call the veto a mistake.

Outside the Kauffman Center Wednesday night was Jason Izquierdo expressing himself through the art he loves: Dance.

"Like just be a dancer, and like really show people what my emotions are through showing a dance routine. Something like that,” Izquierdo said.

Photographer Yessica Ramirez was capturing his every move. Both say they`d love to see another place in Kansas City, where others can express, and enjoy performing arts.

“I would love to see it, because that`s also a way of showing that art is growing in Kansas City,” said Ramirez.

However, it`s not going to happen on the state`s dime, according to Gov. Greitens. He vetoed the bill, and said in a social media post that it would have left taxpayers on the hook for $75 million, adding that there was no plan for who would pay the bill.

Gov. Greitens said in part in the post: "I`m vetoing the bill, and I`m ready to fight them on this."

However, some fear what could happen if alternate funding to build the campus, can`t be found.

“It`s a shame because it will cut out some nice young talent that would possibly stay here in the city,” said Meg Tucker.

“One of the saddest parts of it I will say, besides the incredible talent losing the possibility of more talent coming out of UMKC, is also the incredible professors they have there,” said actress Devon Barnes.

Amid frustration with the veto, there`s delight knowing the university system may still fund the campus.

“It makes me feel good, but still disheartened that our governor doesn`t see the value in the arts, and what it means to a city and a society as a whole,” said Tucker.

“They deserve that, but they shouldn`t have to do that. That shouldn`t be all on their shoulders,” said Barnes.

The bill would have allocated $48 million worth of state money for the project, which is half its cost.

In a statement the UM system’s president was quoted as saying funding the project without state money, will allow construction to begin sooner, and save money by avoiding construction cost inflation. The UM system`s alternate funding plan goes before the board of curators in September for approval.