January 9, 2014

$9.7 million tallied in Kansas City urban core investment

The Greater Kansas City Local Initiatives Support Corporation reported a 41 percent investment increase in 2013. A $4 million loan to the Guadalupe Center to redevelop the former St. Paul’s School of Theology property led 2013 activities.

A $4 million loan to the Guadalupe Center to redevelop the former St. Paul’s School of Theology property led 2013 investment activities by Greater Kansas City LISC.

The Local Initiatives Support Corporation, which gives grants, contracts and loans for urban redevelopment, said Thursday that it invested nearly $9.74 million last year in local projects and programs, a 41 percent increase from the nearly $6.9 million invested in 2012.

LISC receives funds from private corporations and foundations, notably the Hall Family Foundation in Kansas City, as well as federal government grants that are used to leverage urban renewal. The agency’s loans support projects or programs that wouldn’t be economically feasible without such support.

The Guadalupe Center loan, approved in late December, closed Thursday. The center intends to repurpose the 19-acre St. Paul campus at Truman Road and Van Brunt Boulevard for community use.

The Guadalupe loan was one of the agency’s “significant” loans last year, which totaled more than $8.6 million, LISC officials said. It was the largest one-year loan total since LISC began operating in Kansas City in 1981.

Other loans included a $3.25 million bridge loan to Swope Corridor Renaissance Upper Room Inc. to operate its Upper Room Summer Reading Academy, which last year served 3,650 summer school students at 30 locations.

LISC also approved loans of $920,000 to renovate the Mary L. Kelly Community Center at the former Graceland Elementary School and $455,000 to the Mount Pleasant Education and Development Corp. to help operate the Kansas City Freedom Schools Initiative’s summer enrichment program.

In addition to the loans, LISC said it invested more than $1.11 million in grants and contracts to area nonprofit organizations working in the urban core.

One grant gave nearly $136,000 to open two Financial Opportunity Centers, providing employment assistance and financial education in cooperation with Rockhurst University and the Women’s Employment Network. Another grant of about $125,000 supported the Kansas City No Violence Alliance.

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