- Associated Press - Thursday, April 21, 2016

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Kansas City leaders called Thursday for $27.6 million in public funds to help complete revitalization of the historic 18th and Vine jazz district.

City Manager Troy Schulte and City Councilman Jermaine Reed told the City Council that the public spending could help leverage $12 million in private dollars, The Kansas City Star (https://bit.ly/23LRiZF ) reports. Supporters initially sought $7 million for the district, which is home to the American Jazz Museum and the Negro Leagues Baseball museum.

The city already has spent more than $70 million on the area over the past 25 years. Before falling into disrepair, the area east of downtown became world famous for the hard-swinging, blues-like jazz style played in its clubs.

But Schulte said that for too long, the city has helped the district in a piecemeal way. This time, he urged the city to “do it right and declare victory once and for all at 18th and Vine.”

Reed, who represents the district, said he will seek public support and urge his council colleagues to approve the bond financing in the next 30 days. The bonds could be paid back with capital improvement sales tax funds, and the city would also seek all available federal and state incentives.

The actual work to complete the district would be done over the next three years. The proposed improvements include $1.7 million for the American Jazz Museum and $3 million for 18th Street streetscape improvements to help connect the Jazz District to the Crossroads area to the west.

Schulte and Reed said the streetscape upgrades would help eliminate the perception that 18th and Vine is isolated and separate from the rest of downtown.

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Information from: The Kansas City Star, https://www.kcstar.com


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