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Letter to mayor urges him to ‘Get it done’ while mayor sends own letter urging continued KCI negotiations

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Following a tumultuous five days of conflict over the airport reconstruction process,  Kansas City Mayor Sly James sent out a letter urging the city manager to continue talks with Edgemoor Infrastructure, the company selected by both the airport selection committee and the city council to rebuild KCI.

Then, The Kansas City Chamber of Commerce sent out its own letter that it sent to Mayor James, voicing their concern over the recent conflicts.

To recap the conflict: On Thursday, the city council voted 9-4 to reject the Memorandum of Understanding presented by Edgemoor Infrastructure, the company it selected in September to rebuild the airport. The mayor called their move ‘playing politics’, an accusation several of them disputed, including 5th district at-large council member Lee Barnes Jr. After the council’s vote, Edgemoor announced that the city had stopped negotiating with it.  The mayor said negotiations should continue. Barnes introduced a resolution to move onto the company that was second choice to build the new airport.  Over the weekend, the city manager sent out 16 tweets in which he tried to explain the problems the council encountered with Edgemoor’s memorandum.   Click here for his tweets. On Monday, AECom, the company in 2nd place, and Burns and McDonnell, the local engineering company that was first to propose a plan to rebuild the airport, held a joint news conference to announce that Burns and McDonnell would be joining the KCI Partnership, teaming up with AECom to bid for the airport.

Read these past stories for more history on the airport:

Details revealed about proposed single terminal for KCI

Committee recommends Edgemoor to build new KCI terminal, city council must approve

Burns and McDonnell, state legislators question airport selection process on eve of $1 billion vote

Edgemoor takes new single terminal plan for KCI to the people

Finger-pointing and feuding emerge among Kansas City’s leadership over KCI

Burns and McDonnell joining AECom in KCI Partnership pitch to rebuild KCI 

And now, the letter from the mayor, urging leadership to continuing negotiating with Edgemoor. followed by the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce letter to the mayor:

From the mayor:

For six-and-a-half years, we’ve enjoyed unprecedented levels of progress and momentum in Kansas City. I believe that is, in no small part, the result of confronting complex problems with thoughtful analysis, precise data, and a careful deliberative process. Unfortunately, the action last week on the MOU was the opposite of that.

My fear is that this miscalculation has not only undermined the airport project, but has also undermined the voters’ trust in our ability to lead. I won’t let that happen.

So let’s fix this. We are a city built on big ideas, bold action, and a commitment to getting things done. If we want to continue building on the momentum we’re enjoying, then let’s get this negotiation back on track.

I’m proposing that the City Manager continue engaging in good faith negotiations with Edgemoor and bring back a revised MOU for City Council consideration. If an agreement cannot be reached, then the City Manager must report back to the Council why an agreement could not be reached, and the process for selecting a developer will start over. At that point, I would propose that the process be open to the public.

Building an airport terminal is an enormous undertaking for a city. It’s a huge investment that will have lasting effects on the economic development of the city and region as a whole. A project of this magnitude takes good faith, communication and trust. And it takes leadership and commitment that I’m confident this City can provide.

I have a great deal of faith in the vision and wisdom of Kansas City voters. On Nov. 7, they demonstrated that they’re ready for a new airport terminal. They are asking us to lead this City, to set aside personal interests, and get our job done quickly so construction can start on schedule. We would be well-advised to heed their call.

Let’s build our new terminal.

Letter to the mayor from the KC Chamber:

Dear Mayor James and members of the City Council:

We are writing to share our concern about recent developments in the process to finalize an agreement on the construction of a new, single terminal at KCI Airport.

Business, labor, and civic organizations invested $2 million in a campaign to create a new, modern gateway to our community.  Voters agreed, answering with a nearly 76 percent mandate to proceed with a new modern terminal.

Kansas City voters said “yes” to “A Better KCI,” expecting you and your colleagues to proceed in an open, transparent, and professional manner to bring the new terminal to fruition.  The airport’s many regional users expect the same.  As does the business community.

The actions of these past few days do nothing to reassure Kansas Citians and the business community in the process now underway at City Hall, and is not a good example of how business should be conducted.  We urge you to negotiate in good faith and in a transparent manner respecting the integrity of the process.  We also urge you to “get it done.”

Thank you.

Joe Reardon, President & CEO                                                   Matt Condon, Chair

KC Chamber                                                                                       KC Chamber