Kansas City is making another attempt to revitalize the city’s 18th & Vine Historic Jazz District.
The city will invest $27 million over the next three years for projects in the district, with money from the capital improvements fund and sales tax money.
The city hopes it will also leverage $12 million in private investment in the area.
City Manager Troy Schulte said 18th & Vine is the most famous Kansas City address in the world, but he said the district also has a reputation.
“One of the problems is that we’d do one project and then it would be five or six years before we could scrape up enough money for another project,” he said. “As a result, there’s been a perception that 18th & Vine has never lived up to expectations.”
The new plan is bigger investment than the $22 million that the city invested in the early 1990s to jump-start the district.
Many of the people who were at Thursday’s announcement are happy, including Rebecca Bradley of the Missouri Veterans Commission.
“We will be moving into the historic Lincoln Building here at 18th and Vine,” she said.
Others are skeptical that the project will accomplish anything.
“I’m not saying whether or not it will work,” said Sharon Fisher. “I’m just saying I don’t trust it.”
Some of the projects include expanding the Blue Room bar in connection with the American Jazz Museum, creating an outdoor amphitheater on the north side of the museum and rehabilitating the Boone Theater on 18th Street.
Councilman Jermaine Reed said it’s time to improve the district. He said it deserves the same level of attention as other parts of the community and the urban core.
The district may also get a new title. U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Kansas City and a New Orleans congressman have struck a deal. They’re offering a congressional resolution that would declare Kansas City the official “Home of Jazz” and New Orleans the official “Birthplace of Jazz.”