May 18, 2016 SCC Meeting

A summary of the presentations at last night’s meeting of the Southern Communities Coalition at Baptiste Educational Center, attended by over 50 community members:

Police Chief Darryl Forte talked extensively about the reporting on the 35 homicides that have occurred in Kansas City so far this year. Most were committed by friends killing so-called friends and his question was how can police prevent that kind of killing? He also commented on the just released audit on police taking cars home saying this was the 4th time that the police have been audited on this use while there hasn’t been an audit of use of cars by other city departments since 2002. The Chief next addressed the protest downtown during a political rally. The police did not show up in riot gear. They instructed everyone to stay on the sidewalk. Only when some protesters started getting out of hand did police use pepper spray in a mist. A heavier spray was used only when they continued to be disruptive. As the Chief stated, the police will not give anyone a street. The Chief discussed many other issues including KCNOVA, the need for a staffing study, sentencing in Jackson County vs north of the river, and media coverage. The Chief was emphatic that his officers want to help people and that he is going to take care of his officers.

Mike Pursell, owner of Damon Pursell Construction Company, spoke about redeveloping Rock Ridge Quarry which is 495 acres of the Santa Fe TIF. This is the area bounded by I-49 on the west, I-435 on the east, 87th Street on the north, and 95th Street on the south. Mr. Pursell is trying to get the City to resurface Hickman Mills Drive from 95th to 87th. It is worn down to the old 71 highway pavement. (Maybe PIAC should use some of the 5th District money for this worthwhile project instead of spending $375,000 on a parking lot at 99th & Holmes). He also discussed the North Point Development and Boulevard Brewing Warehouse which are on the north side of his property on land that he has reclaimed. The Coalition thanked him for removing 4 billboards on the Santa Fe TIF property that were moved there in 2000 as part of the agreement for the Marion Lab TIF project.

Mr. Randy Waits, representing the proposed convenience store at I-49 and Red Bridge Road, discussed the building design and traffic issues. The audience was skeptical of this proposal and will be attending the City Plan Commission on June 7th to review the final proposal.

Mr. Lou Austin gave a short presentation on The Blue Ridge transit station to be called 3 Trails Transit Station. It will be only 800 feet from the original Santa Fe Trail. Also, on June 9 at 10:00 AM there will be a dedication of the Powder Mill Bridge which is a pedestrian bridge running along Bannister Road and crossing I-49. This is the longest bridge over an interstate highway over a national trail. Representatives from MoDOT and the National Park Service will be on hand.

Ms. Lisa Hummel from the KC Water Department talked about the “Keep Out the Rain KC” program. This program helps property owners fix improper plumbing connections (gutter downspouts, sump pumps and area drains) that contribute to the overflow into the sewer system. Go to http://www.kcwaterservices.org/rain for more info.

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