Kansas City mayor allocating $500,000 to help storefronts along Troost

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City's mayor said he wants to help businesses along one key metro avenue.

A number of storefronts along Troost Avenue are in need of sprucing up. Economic development show stores with bright, modern facades attract more customers. Business operators up and down Troost are excited by the prospect of a new coat of paint.

On Wednesday, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas pointed to 2016, when the Kansas City Pubic Schools central office moved to Troost, as a moment where a world of possibilities opened. Lucas said that's the bedrock for TIF funding that he wants to allocate for businesses along Troost.

The mayor is asking other city leaders to earmark $500,000 annually, which would, in small amounts, go toward helping business operators replace old windows, doors, signs and other facets of storefronts, some of which haven't been restored in decades.

It sounds like a fresh idea to Pat Williams, who has operated the popular M&M Bakery and Deli for 35 years. That storefront sits just two blocks from Troost. The busy eatery operates out of a century-old building. Williams said he replaced the large windows on his storefront four years ago, and it was an expensive transaction.

"If you've got a good looking storefront of your business or what-not, a lot of times, people tend to come and patronize your business," Williams said. "Financially, I can't afford to jump in it with all the money I have or don`t have. It would take a lot of money to take care of those problems."

Lucas said city leaders realize some businesses along thoroughfares like Troost could use some support. The mayor said he and other municipal leaders value small businesses as much as large corporations.

"I think we recognize that windows are expensive. Doors are expensive," Lucas said. "The difference we're making for people every day on Troost for $10,000, for #5,000, is amazing. It`s impressive. It's important for us."

Some merchants told FOX4 they need it badly to keep customer traffic going. Anthony Roe, an employee at RP's Appliances at 73rd and Troost, said several buildings in his neighborhood could use a new look.

"We need to revamp a bunch of these raggedy buildings, which our building is a little bit raggedy," Roe said. "We need to revitalize all of this. It's raggedy. It's rundown. We need better sidewalks. We need better living things. All we need is a little support."

Other provisions under the mayor's TIF proposal would cover minor home repairs. Use of TIF money has been under scrutiny in Kansas City in recent months, and the mayor said he wants to use these funds for something impactful.

Lucas said he hopes Troost is merely the start, as he hopes to allocate money for revitalize other areas of the city where commerce has gone stagnant.

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