KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The Kansas City Council approved an ordinance born out of fierce discussions over Midtown developments Thursday.
But that approval came after ditching incentive plans to fund a new Midtown development and instead re-allocating the money to affordable housing.
The conflict boiled down to certain council members wanting to stay the course on development strategies versus others who wanted to spread the money to other parts of the city.
The original plan would have given one-third of surplus funds, or about $10.5 million over a 20-year period, from a tax increment financing plan to a new MAC Properties apartment building along Main Street and Armour Boulevard.
But in the new approved plan, one-third of the money will go to the Rehabilitation Assistance for Midtown Properties program, and the other two-thirds will go to the city’s Housing Trust Fund, leaving the MAC development out.
“Housing is a social justice issue, and $10 million over the next 25 years could go into a Housing Trust Fund to help those who cannot afford market rate rents here in town would be a huge step forward,” 3rd District Councilwoman Melissa Robinson said.
“The thing that really baffles me about this whole thing is that we have these real pressing issues. We pass by the bridges every day, and we see people that are living under them,” Robinson said. “And now is a real tangible thing that we can do to say, ‘Over the next 25 years we’re going to put $10 million into this fund to help us in our housing crisis.'”
Robinson worked in tandem with Councilwoman Ryana Parks Shaw to accomplish the change during Thursday’s meeting. The group KC Tenants is also taking credit for the change.
“What the council just voted down was basically to give a private developer, an out-of-town developer from Chicago, MAC Properties, about $10 million to build what was, in our minds, completely unaffordable housing,” Spencer Thut of KC Tenants said after the vote.