New plan for downtown outdoor space busts budget

rpulley@lsjournal.comJuly 9, 2014 

Architects estimate a proposal for enlarging the Lee’s Summit downtown performance space far exceeds the proposed budget planned for the project that’s included a 2013 bond issue for cultural arts approved by voters.

Councilman Allan Gray has been pushing for demolition of Arnold Hall and enlarging the proposed outdoor stage and festival plaza to use the entire lot at 123 Third Street, when earlier plans were to use only part of the parking lot and include some remodeling of Arnold Hall to use its restrooms.

That budget was set at $600,000, while Hollis + Miller architects estimate for building two versions of Gray’s proposal have come in at $775,226 and $973,975. They’ve said that the first concepts for the downtown performance space at 123 Third Street — leaving Arnold Hall in place — can be built with the $600,000, the amount promised to voters during campaigning for the $2.89 million bond issue.

Expected to be part of the council’s discussion is where could additional money come from or whether the council accepts the expanded version.

Some council members have been concerned with overrunning the budget promised to voters in 2013. There is concern about using city reserves as potential source for adding to the downtown project when there is a projected deficit between revenue and spending for its general fund for the next year.

Another option that’s been floated is using money slated for amphitheater improvements at Legacy Park. But that would cause a cutback of the plans there.

The issue is one of two major decisions on the agenda for the Lee’s Summit City Council meeting July 10.

The other is a vote to amend a tax-increment financing district for construction of Summit Place shopping center proposed by RED Development.

That would give the company an $18.5 million in subsidy for the $73 million development, which would come out of future tax receipts. The council also is to vote on rezoning to allow the project to go forward.

The council split on the issue with some questioning the amount of subsidy to the developers, especially because it is going to buildings and other costs the city frequently requires of the project owners.

A council majority approved first reading of the ordinances, but the council also must vote on a contract governing the TIF and approve second readings of the ordinance to approve the project.

Other items on the agenda include ordinances to:

amend tax abatements for John Knox Village to for continued redevelopment as that retirement community replaces outdated buildings.

acquire right-of-way for the Jefferson Street improvements for the intersection with Persels Road, and making it three lanes between Persels and Market Street, two lanes with paved shoulders from Market to Stuart Road and extension of Scherer Road east to Missouri 291.

award a contract for nearly $3.8 million for rebuilding Strother Road in a new alignment north of the existing roadway to Radmacher Brothers Excavating Company, Inc.

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