Private backers have put up critical funding needed to begin reimagining the South Loop Link — bringing the long-dreamed about project closer to reality than ever before.
Civic leaders from across the region gathered Friday to announce a verbal commitment from funders and local property owners — including Lowes’ Hotel & Co. — who will finance the engineering and design phase of the project, which looks to put a lid over the 5.5 acre stretch of I-670 from Wyandotte Street to Grand Boulevard.
“The South Loop Link has been identified as a catalytic project in the Imagine Downtown KC 2030 Strategic Plan,” Bill Dietrich, Downtown Council president and CEO, said in a press release.
“It is an opportunity to physically unite the Central Business District and the Crossroads Arts District with a destination park featuring an open green lawn, public art, and outdoor seating with shade structures. It’s a game-changer located in the heart of Downtown KC.”
If realized, the project would carry a $160 million price tag. It could boast such additional amenities as playgrounds, dog parks, and arts and amphitheater programming.
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“Not only will this park create a more exciting and immersive experience for all who spend time downtown, but it will help significantly reduce noise and air pollution from the highway, creating healthier communities,” added Mayor Quinton Lucas who was joined at a press conference by Dietrich, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, U.S. Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver, D-Missouri, and Gov. Mike Parson, R-Missouri, — key players who, with the help of Kansas Citians, have made the project a reality, he added.
The design process is expected to last between 12 and 18 months. State and federal partners have shown strong interest in funding construction.
“Kansas City is already a great place to live, work, and visit, and the South Loop Link project will make it even better,” said Blunt, noting the location of the project puts it in close proximity to schools, colleges, and universities and businesses.
“Smart infrastructure investments like this one will improve the quality of life and give families and businesses alike more reason to make a long-term commitment to the area. I’m proud to join Mayor Lucas, Congressman Cleaver, Governor Parson, and all of the local stakeholders who are working together to move this project forward.”
Once completed, the project could create a surge of development opportunities in the Crossroads, the Downtown Council said, offering its estimate that it could boost nearby real estate values by more than $90 million and create more than $490 million in economic impact.
The project will also create greater community access to the Power & Light District, T-Mobile Center, the Lowes Kansas City Hotel, and the Kauffman Performing Arts Center.
The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce celebrated Friday’s announcement with a look back on a 2016 trip to Dallas, Texas where it took more than 100 elected officials, civic, and business leaders to study the city’s Klyde Warren Park. The park ultimately inspired the South Loop Link.
“Klyde Warren Park, an urban oasis over their Warren Rodgers Freeway, linked Dallas’ Uptown and Downtown District and has generated nearly $3 billion in economic impact,” the chamber said.
“We expect the new South Loop Link to bring similar benefits to KC’s Downtown and Crossroads District.”
Click here to read more about proposed loop reimagination projects