Newsletter Feature from Chuck - February 7, 2017
Good day. We hope this edition of our newsletter finds that you and yours are well. One of our board members, Jim Schraeder, and I recently attended a conference in St. Louis entitled New Partners for Smart Growth. LISC funded our attending the 4-day event. Seminars and speakers noted what is working in efforts to revitalize cities across the US. Even in the midst of uncertainty about what may occur on the federal level, these renewal efforts generated a sense of celebration and optimism that was palpable.
I was particularly excited to learn that much of what was spotlighted is either already being implemented, or about to be, here in Kansas City, Kansas and Wyandotte County. We are very encouraged that local government, businesses, neighborhood organizations, nonprofits, and the educational community are not only welcoming best practices but also using them. Here are two examples with which DTSKCK is familiar.
Open Data. “The Unified Government collects data – a lot of data – on property records, code infractions, expenditures, streets, parks and much more. Making this data publicly available and easy to access, download and use, means residents, organizations and the UG’s public managers can use it to further the public good.”
This excerpt from a December 1, 2016, UG News release sums up what open data is about. Jim and I heard several stories about how data can be helpful to a wide variety of users. One story demonstrated how knowing the wintertime temperatures of city streets allowed street crews to use resources more effectively. Materials, fuel for vehicles, wear and tear on equipment, and personnel hours were better managed. End results included safer streets at less expense and greater public satisfaction since people could get to where they needed to be.
The UG portal can be found at YourData.wycokck.org. This effort is the topic of our In the Know Luncheon this Friday at BPU, 11:30 to 1:00. UG Chief Knowledge Officer Alan Howze, his team, and others will share some of how you, your neighborhood, your organization, and/or your business can benefit from this service. Email me at Director@DowntownKCK.org or visit our registration page to RSVP. Cost for lunch is $20.
Housing Choices. Simply put, funding affordable housing can be extremely complex. Not only must the numbers work but a variety of variables also have to coalesce for projects to succeed. In particular, local government has to be open to, and help facilitate, this type of investment. As common sense as this might sound, it is not always the case.
To their great credit, UG Commissioners saw the potential of 2 housing projects when they recently issued resolutions of support for both projects. DTSKCK has been fortunate to be involved with one. The Prairie Fire Development Group has plans to build 92 workforce housing units on Washington between 8th and 9th. The resolutions allow the developers to apply for tax credits from the State of Kansas, which if awarded, place no additional burden on taxpayers. The applications will be presented soon. We will share the results once they are known.
Open data. Housing Choices. Local government that continues to improve how services are provided to public and private sectors and welcomes investment. No wonder we are excited about Downtown Kansas City, Kansas. Come be a part. Come contribute. Come see why Downtown KCK is everyone’s Downtown.