Multimillion infrastructure plans coming to fruition on east side

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- After more than 15 years of planning, work is underway on a roadway realignment project that will provide an important link between Crown Center and Interstate 70.

FOX 4's John Pepitone was at 22nd and Olive, where bonds approved earlier this year by voters are finally turning planning into progress in the neighborhood near 22nd and Olive streets.

$2.9 million worth of improvements along 22nd and 23rd streets wouldn't be happening without more than a million dollars of GO Bond funding that voters approved for infrastructure upgrades.

New curbs and gutters, sidewalks and sewers are among the upgrades that neighbors will see in coming months.

And although that doesn't sound very flashy, this sort of work is helping attract private development, which hasn't happened easily on the east side.

A new senior housing community, 12 duplexes, which is part of a private project through a church partnership, also will be built as the street upgrades are completed.

"You get new streets, new public infrastructure, new improvements," explained Leonard Graham, a development partner. "You do the kinds of things that are necessary, including clearing blighted properties, and now it begins to look a whole lot more attractive to private developers. Next thing you know you have private development coming up."

The city has pledged to spend $40 million a year on infrastructure improvements in all parts of the city.

And when new sewers and water mains go in, developers see basic amenities they don't have to pay for, and recognize opportunities to invest.

This project also is being coordinated with $54 million that's being spent to set up rapid transit bus service along Prospect Avenue. That also is helping to lure new businesses and other private investment to the east side.

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