Work has begun on a $40 million sewer project that Kansas City officials say will open up 13,000 acres in the Northland for future development.
Voter-approved bonds are paying for the project, which is set for completion in late 2014.
At more than twice the size of Gladstone, the area served by the sewer project could become home to potentially 70,000 new residents, officials said at Wednesday’s groundbreaking at Platte Purchase Park.
Some critics previously have suggested that the city already has too much vacant land south of the river in older neighborhoods. It makes no sense, they say, for Kansas City to make more land available for development by adding sewers.
Mayor Sly James seemed to answer that criticism in prepared remarks by saying that if Kansas City is to continue to grow, it needs diverse housing options.
“Our future is tied to one another,” he said. “North and south, east and west; all are critical to our collective success in making Kansas City the best that it can be.”
Nearly 10 miles of sewer pipe will be laid in the area, which is roughly between Interstate 29 and Highway 169, south of I-435 and north of Highway 152.
The city cites federal figures showing that the First and Second Creek Sewer Expansion Project, as it’s officially known, will create more than 700 direct and indirect construction-related jobs.