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A Vision for Equity at 31st & Troost

“It is 2030 and the revitalization of the 31st and Troost area has been evolving for more than a decade. Troost Park is now full of native plants . . . Community gardens are in full bloom . . . This spring, the 25th anniversary of Troost Fest will overtake the entire area, with a music festival in Troost Park, a farmers’ market and art fair . . . open studios, shops, and maker spaces revealing locally-produced goods, a job fair from businesses near and far, and a movie night with digital animations featured ... a gathering enjoyed by all.”

This is an excerpt from the vision co-created by the diverse set of stakeholders within the 31st & Troost Priority Area of the Kansas City Catalytic Urban Redevelopment (KC-CUR) initiative. Since early 2017, Greater Kansas City LISC and Urban Neighborhood Initiative (UNI) have been facilitating deep conversations with the residents, landowners, developers, business owners and social service agencies that consider these eight square blocks to be home. Now, with the expertise and guidance of local firm BNIM, the Revitalization Scenario for this emerging, active area along Troost is complete.

More than just another plan, this guide defines a collective vision for concepts like equity, affordability, wealth and sustainability. Without those shared philosophical foundations to connect both People and Place, disparate interests can find themselves at odds, with progress derailed or one-sided. It is especially challenging without a grass-roots organization in place to steward policies and investments that support the vision and long-term benefit for the community.

With support from the City of Kansas City, local foundations and businesses, LISC and UNI are setting the stage for progress at 31st &Troost, including capacity for place-based management and the creation of local jobs and neighborhood-serving businesses. LISC’s Daniel Serda, Project Manager for KC-CUR, explains that “we want to help overcome financial and bureaucratic hurdles to get projects moving. As projects progress, that creates more development interest. And that interest in turn creates more growth.”

The KC-CUR initiative is helping to coordinate many of the unfolding activities in the area. To strengthen the scenario’s Guiding Principles, City Council has been asked to adopt the plan so that future development respects the community’s vision for the area’s history, affordability and walkable urban fabric. LISC and other local CDFIs are finding ways to provide financing to identified catalytic projects such as the Laugh-A-Gram studio, Troost Market Collective, and shared parking solutions. City Council has already approved a Community Improvement District designation for Troost, and KC-CUR will help organize volunteers to canvass the corridor seeking support for a self-assessed tax to fund enhanced maintenance and safety services. LISC is also spearheading a new social impact fund to provide the long-term, patient capital needed to close financing gaps and spur development forward.

If your organization would like LISC to provide a presentation on KC-CUR, please contact Daniel Serda.

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Daniel Serda
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