Join our family of curious Kansas Citians

Discover unheard stories about Kansas City, every Thursday.

Thank you for subscribing!

Check your inbox, you should see something from us.

Sign Me Up
Hit enter to search or ESC to close

KC Streetcar Extension on the Riverfront Gains Momentum Port KC Committee Endorses Special Taxing District

Share this story
Above image credit: A pedestrian and bicycle bridge planned to run parallel to the KC Streetcar extension on Grand Viaduct is expected to be completed in 2025. (Rendering | KC Streetcar Authority)
Sponsor Message Become a Flatland sponsor
3 minute read

Port KC took the first step towards funding its share of the planned streetcar extension to Berkley Riverfront Park this week when its development committee endorsed creating a special taxing district.

Launching what would be called Port Improvement District 6 still requires approval from the full board and support from property owners. But, if successful, it would be a critical source of financing for the estimated $35 million extension.

“It’s a big component of our overall funding strategy,” said Tom Gerend, executive director of the Kansas City Streetcar Authority.

The new Port Improvement District would add a one-cent sales tax to purchases and a property tax surcharge to property owners in the riverfront area. A similar development district is being used to finance the local share of the Main Street streetcar extension.

An estimate made a year ago projected the special taxes from the Port Improvement District would yield $22 million over 30 years.

Streetcar rails piled up at the riverfront with the Kansas City skyline in the background.
Rails already have been delivered to the riverfront for the extension of the streetcar. (Kevin Collison | CityScene)

That estimate, however, was made before the announcement of the $117 million Kansas City Current women’s professional soccer stadium now being built near the east end of the Port KC riverfront property. The stadium is expected to open next year.

consultant’s report last summer estimated the stadium and spinoff development could yield $3.9 million in new revenues to Port KC over 30 years. It anticipated 500 apartments and 60,000 square feet of retail space could be built.

Port KC also recently announced that an 8,200-square-foot beer garden is planned for Berkley Park that would be operated by the owner of the $30 million, 120-room Origin KC hotel now under construction at the riverfront.

“The more successful the riverfront is, the more money we generate,” said Kansas City Councilman Kevin O’Neill, a member of the Port KC development committee.

An aerial map showing the route of the KC Streetcar extension to Berkley Riverfront Park.
The streetcar extension will go 0.7 miles from the River Market to the midpoint of the south side of Berkley Park. (Map | KC Streetcar Authority)

Gerend said planning for the riverfront extension of the streetcar is far along with bids expected to go out this summer. Rail already is being delivered for what will be a 0.7-mile extension from the River Market to the midpoint of the south edge of Berkley Park.

“As we get solid bids, our hope is by late summer we can begin physical construction,” Gerend said.

Other funding for the project is a $14.2 million grant from the federal BUILD program. More federal funds are expected to come from the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority’s (KCATA) federal transit allocation.

Gerend noted the new riverfront streetcar extension will serve an area that a few years ago was undeveloped.

“Just like Main Street, we have so much going on on our riverfront,” he said. “When we started planning, there was nothing.”

A rendering of a planned KC Streetcar station at Third Street and Grand Boulevard in the River Market.
A rendering of a planned KC Streetcar station at Third Street and Grand Boulevard in the River Market. (Rendering | KC Streetcar Authority)

Eight new streetcars also are expected to be delivered by the end of this year, expanding the fleet to 14. They will serve the newly expanded streetcar route which will run from the University of Missouri-Kansas City to Berkley Park.

In addition to the streetcar extension, work is expected to begin this year on a bicycle and pedestrian bridge paralleling the Grand Viaduct to the riverfront. That $5.25 million project is being built by the city, the Streetcar Authority and KCATA.

If all goes according to schedule, the streetcar extensions to the riverfront and UMKC, and the pedestrian-bicycle bridge will be ready in 2025.

Gerend said the Main Street extension is on schedule with 40% of the track construction completed.

“We’re getting close to actually starting testing in late 2024, that’s just 18 months from now,” he said.

Flatland contributor Kevin Collison is the founder of CityScene KC, an online source for downtown news and issues.

Like what you are reading?

Discover more unheard stories about Kansas City, every Thursday.

Thank you for subscribing!

Check your inbox, you should see something from us.

Enter Email
Your support helps Flatland’s storytellers cover the issues that matter to this community. Give what you can to help in-depth, nonprofit journalism thrive in Kansas City. Support Local Journalism
Sponsor Message Become a Flatland sponsor

Ready to read next

Cocina47 Restaurant Project Back in Play at Plaza

Read Story

One thought on “KC Streetcar Extension on the Riverfront Gains Momentum

  1. Why doesn’t it go all the way to the new soccer stadium? Looks like a fairly long walk from the streetcar stop.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *