Waldo residents start petition against new taxing district to improve shopping center

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A busy Waldo shopping center is set to get a major face-lift in the new year, but residents are worried they'll be footing the bulk of the bill to make it happen.

Days before Christmas, shoppers were filing into the Waldo Price Chopper at 85th and Wornall on Friday. Soon the entire shopping center will get a makeover.

"For the most part, we were all very excited about it. We just didn't know there was a CID attached to it," said Angie Lile, who lives and works in Waldo.

A CID is a community improvement district. If the city approves an area to become a CID, it can create an extra tax to pay for fixing things up.

Much of Waldo is already in a CID, and when you buy things there, you pay an extra 1/2-cent sales tax. All the businesses under that umbrella divvy up the cash, and there's a lot of input on how it's spent.

"You'll see the security. You'll see people pushing trash cans to clean up the trash. There's a lot of really great things that come out of that particular CID," Lile said.

Now that the Kansas City Council has approved another CID for the Wornall Village shopping center, customers there will pay an extra 1 percent sales tax. It's designed to pay for an overhaul of Price Chopper and neighboring stores, along with tearing down two vacant buildings between 84th and 85th on Wornall.

"We want that to be a nice property. I'm willing to partner with them to make it a nice property, but I definitely have some questions," Waldo resident Cassie Stephenson said.

Namely, neighbors are worried that since one company owns the entire facility within the CID, there will be little outside input on how the sales tax dollars are spent and if the public will truly benefit.

That's why a petition is being circulated, hoping to push a public vote on the new community improvement district.

"It doesn't stop the development. They could still do all the development. They can bring the nice Price Chopper. But the tax, the sales tax, is what we're saying voters really need to have say on," Lile said.

Price Chopper and attorneys for the property owner have not returned FOX4's request for comment on the petition.

Community organizers will be hosting a petition signing event this Saturday from 4 -8 p.m. at Tropical Sno near 85th and Wornall.

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