Kansas City council looks to move forward, put aside ‘personal vendettas’ to build new KCI

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City council members seem closer to finding common ground in the ongoing debate surrounding the deal to build a new single terminal KCI.

There were heated exchanges during a city council work session Tuesday afternoon.

"We can point fingers back and forth one way or the other, but I think what's most important in terms of us moving forward is we put aside our personal vendettas and move forward about what is on the table and that is the discussion about making sure we can build this airport, which is what the citizens of this city asked us to do," said city council member Jermaine Reed/

The super majority of council members who rejected a contract with Edgemoor on terms to build the new airport say while they had a variety of reasons to vote no, their basic logic was the same.

"We just didn't like it and somebody needs to own that.  We just did not like it.  It did not have to be some conspiracy theory otherwise," said council member Alissia Canady.

During Tuesday's work session, most city council members collectively decided negotiations should continue with Edgemoor, but also that a framework should be set up to get the best deal done.

"I think between now and Christmas, we want to hash all these things out.  There's nothing to suggest we can't.  I don't think there's any type of paralysis.  There's been some suggestions this may delay the airport project.  It will not," said city council member Quinton Lucas.

Council member Lee Barnes, Jr. remains unconvinced that can happen with Edgemoor, insisting community benefits for hiring minority and women owned businesses and investments in local programs could be stronger.

"I want this project to be transformative for the entire Kansas City community and what they've suggested in terms of community benefits absolutely is not," said Barnes.

But Edgemoor believes it can deliver and it wants to continue working with the city.

"We have some pretty aggressive goals and great strategies to get there.  So we're comfortable we can get there," said Geoffrey Stricker, Edgemoor managing director.

The debate continues Thursday, with an airport committee meeting that morning, and a full city council meeting that afternoon.

 

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