The Roeland Park City Council unanimously approved a revised redevelopment plan Feb. 19 that combines two tax-increment financing, or TIF, projects under one umbrella and extending appropriate use of funds to include improvements to infrastructure around the shopping district at Roe Boulevard between West 52nd Street and Skyline Drive.
According to city officials, the area — which includes Walmart, Lowe’s Home Improvement and Price Chopper — has long needed improvements to its parking lots, curbs and roadways.
“One big complaint we have had for years is the parking lot configuration and actual condition,” of the Walmart parking lot, Assistant City Administrator Jennifer Jones-Lacy said. “It is just in really bad shape.”
The shopping district, previously known as Redevelopment District No.1, consisted of Project Area 1A and Project Area 1B. Under the revised plan, the two projects merged to become known as Amended Project Area 1.
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“We requested and adopted a new redevelopment plan so that we can use the funds within the TIF to help with infrastructure to serve that district,” Jones-Lacy said.
The merger does not affect the March 2024 expiration date for the TIF.
Proposed highlights of the $5.7 million project could include construction of a multilevel parking garage and improvements to curbs and roadways. It also allows the city to acquire property within the district boundaries should it become available.
Additionally, the city anticipates using the TIF funds for the 2020 Roe Boulevard project, which encompasses the area from County Line Road to Johnson Drive, Director of Public Works Jose Leon said. The $8 million project — $4.6 million of which will be funded through Mid-America Regional Council’s Surface Transportation Program — will add more lighting and trees along the roadways as well as a pedestrian walkway.
The eight-foot-wide sidewalk, which will run north and south on the west side of Roe Boulevard from 48th Street to Johnson Drive, will increase walkability for residents.
“People are going to walk on it, jog on it, bike on it,” Leon said. “It really is for multi-use purpose.”
The project also will serve as a bridge between both sides of Roe, opening up much-needed space for residents.
“Today, Roe Boulevard is a significant divider in our community,” Leon said. “We are wanting to build a street that connects the east-side neighborhoods and the west-side neighborhoods. We want people to feel safe crossing Roe.”
The city currently is in the preliminary design phase for the project, Leon said, with an anticipated construction date in 2020. That project is expected to take a year to complete.