KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Part of downtown and Interstate 670 will look at lot greener in the near future.

Kansas City leaders and Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt announced plans Friday for a $160 million park that will be built over I-670, bridging downtown and the Crossroads District.

City leaders shared renderings of the 5.5-acre park being called the South Loop Link. 

“We have talked about capping 670 for a number of years, and we will have a lid that’s been built that’s been financed,” Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said. “And more than anything that will be a great gathering space for Kansas Citians.”

The lid over I-670 will stretch from Wyandotte Street to Grand Boulevard and could feature playgrounds and dog parks, plus arts and amphitheater programming.

“A lot of people come in for lots of reasons,” Blunt said. “This just gives another reason not only for people to be in Kansas City, but for people to go home and talk about how great it was to be here are people who live here to be able to experience the city in a new and different way.”

Kansas City’s South Loop Link project (Photo courtesy Downtown Council of Kansas City)

Nearby property owners, like the Loews Hotels and other private stakeholders, are financially backing the planning efforts. City officials said both state and federal partners have indicated strong support to fund the full construction costs.

According to the Downtown Council, once the South Loop Link is built, it’s expected to generate nearly $500 million in economic impact.

The KC Chamber released this statement on the South Loop Link project:

“In 2016, the KC Chamber brought more than 100 elected officials, civic and business leaders to Dallas where we carefully studied that city’s Klyde Warren Park — the inspiration for the South Loop Link. Klyde Warren Park, an urban oasis over their Warren Rodgers Freeway, linked Dallas’ Uptown and Downtown District and has generated nearly $3 billion in economic impact. We expect the new South Loop Link to bring similar benefits to KC’s Downtown and Crossroads District.”

Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce
Kansas City’s South Loop Link project (Photo courtesy Downtown Council of Kansas City)

With this project officially in the works, KC city leaders said it provides a framework for doing similar projects in other places.

“We’ve got a lot of highways in the city, and it’s not the only place that we’re thinking about how can we improve quality of life for residents,” City Manager Brian Platt said. “This lid will severely decrease the environmental and quality of life impacts from the highway.”

While the project has been coined the South Loop Link project, Lucas jokingly shared his idea on a name for the park. 

“We look forward to more improvements in Kansas City and a future opening of Sen. Roy Blunt Park,” he said.

The engineering and design phase is expected to take 12-18 months. Once that is complete, crews can break ground on the South Loop Link.