May 21, 2024

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

3 KC Council Members Challenge Funding of Downtown Hotel

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On a roll of late–with a new KCI terminal safely secured–Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Sly James and his allies, political and civic, are pushing hard now for a new downtown convention hotel.

The new hotel would be located between Truman and 16th Streets, and Baltimore and Wyandotte downtown. In June, the Kansas City Planning, Zoning and Economic Development committee passed an ordinance that would allow the convention hotel to be built without input from the voters.

“We have been promoting this project for two years since May of 2015 when it was first announced KC was going to build a convention center hotel,” Visit KC CEO Ronnie Burt told fox4kc at the time.

The three councilwomen want to know where the money is coming from.

Now, however, three Kansas City council members are saying ‘not so fast.’ On Tuesday, Katheryn Shields, Teresa Loar and Heather Hall will host a joint press conference to explain why they drafted an ordinance seeking “clarification, transparency and accountability” in regard to the downtown convention hotel project.

“We are simply requesting actual documentation of the financing, the guaranteed maximum cost, the term sheet, and sources and uses for the project,” said Councilwoman Shields.

As Shields explained, the previous Council voted on the agreement between the City of Kansas City and the hotel developers. In the interim, there has been a new hotel operator and lead investor identified.

“In light of the delay in closing and substitution of development principles, this Council has the obligation to verify its feasibility before investing millions of public dollars,” said Shields, adding, “A one-page PowerPoint slide does not satisfy that requirement.”

Said Councilwoman Hall, “This ordinance is in response to over one year of requests by my colleagues and me to gain the proper confidence level in the financing of the project.”

The Citizens for Responsible Government has applauded the move by the three councilwomen. The CFRG believes this to be “one of the most important press conferences of the year.” Said a spokesman, “This is one of the very few times anyone on the council has challenged the higher ups at City Hall. If we show enough support, it won’t be the last.”

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