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Mayoral Candidates Talk Downtown: Councilman Jermaine Reed

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2 minute read

Editor’s note: Kansas City voters are preparing to elect a new mayor to replace Mayor Sly James, who has reached the end of his two-term limit.

The mayoral primary will be April 2 followed by the general election on June 18.  

CityScene KC has reached out to the leading candidates for their opinions on several downtown issues and is grateful for their responses.  

Each have been asked the same questions and their responses will be posted individually over the next two weeks.

COUNCILMAN JERMAINE REED

What is your take on the current state of greater downtown today and what would your goals be for the area if you were elected mayor? 

Downtown Kansas City is thriving! The changes seen in the last decade are mind blowing and I am incredibly optimistic and excited to see further growth in the years to come.
Kansas City is the 37th largest city in the US.

As Mayor, I will work to ensure that we continue to gain momentum to climb toward the top 20. There are five strategies I will employ to spur economic growth:

a. Small business development
b. Foreign investment
c. Expanding innovation districts
d. Increasing trade agreements
e. Improving shared economies and new technologies

Councilman Jermaine Reed

What would be your approach to tax incentives to assist downtown redevelopment? If you don’t believe further incentives are needed, why?

Incentives should be addressed regionally. We have worked hard to ensure the doors were open for business in Kansas City, MO. They’ve helped spark redevelopment of our downtown.

We cannot close the doors on incentives while other jurisdictions are openly providing incentives. Incentives are vital to economic development; however, all incentives can be abused if misused or overused.

Incentives should be used to invest in severely disadvantaged and distressed communities. Incentives, if used properly can result in reduced crime, reduced blight and increased taxes for the taxing jurisdictions.

Are their types of projects (residential, office, hotel, entertainment, etc.) that you believe no longer need tax incentives? If so, what are they and why?

The concept of linking incentives for development in relatively thriving areas to developers’ commitments to developing east of Troost has great merit.

Although smaller developers might not have the resources to devote to simultaneous projects. In any case, when granting incentives in relatively thriving areas, there needs to be some commitment by the developers receiving such assistance to do something tangible and measurable to improve areas that are truly blighted and/or their residents.

There are several ‘big ideas’ being discussed for greater downtown’s future. What’s your position on the following:

-A downtown ballpark for the Royals?
-Decking the South Loop with a park?
-Reuniting the River Market with Columbus Park by lowering Missouri 9 to grade and reconnecting Independence Avenue?
-Encouraging development along the 18th Street corridor to help connect the East Crossroads and 18th & Vine Jazz District?
-Extending the streetcar to the riverfront and UMKC?

(Editor’s note, Councilman Reed responded to these questions with a single answer).

As a native of Kansas City I support plans to bring as much positive development to the core of the city as possible.

As we look at national trends across the US, it is evident that there is a shift toward the creation of more public green spaces and making downtown cores more walkable and cycling friendly with less emphasis on motor vehicles.

The KC Streetcar starter line, while only an initial 2-mile system, has already proven to be a valuable asset for our downtown and region at large, attracting more than 5 million passenger trips and millions of dollars in new private investment since the opening of the system in May of 2016.

As the current chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure committee, I have been a proponent of expansion of the streetcar and would work aggressively as the next mayor to advocate for funding to extend the streetcar line east/west to connect the East Crossroads and encourage further development along the 18th Street corridor.

I believe dependable mass transit is a major cornerstone of great communities, as it is critical to the quality of life for many citizens, by providing access to work, school, medical care, worship and social opportunities.

What’s your position on retaining City Manager Troy Schulte?

My continued support of the Manager is contingent upon his support in the upcoming budget deliberations for adequate funding for basic services and economic development east of Troost.

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