The historic 18th & Vine Jazz District is about opportunity and evolution, and what we are doing right now to ensure its sustainable future. It is about where we are going and our collective vision for how we get there. It is about transforming an already vibrant neighborhood and making new connections with the Crossroads Arts District and downtown Kansas City, both of which are a little more than a mile away.
Our promise made to the citizens of Kansas City in 2016 has not changed. We remain committed to being fiscally responsible with city funds and to transforming 18th & Vine into a multiuse district that appeals to diverse and intergenerational audiences, attracting locals and visitors alike.
Our work to make improvements at 18th & Vine is always weighed against our intentions for authenticity. We imagine that as this neighborhood emerges fully into the historic, cultural and entertainment district that it “should be,” we will create a destination where people thrive and where folks live, work and play. We know that we will arrive at success if we can continue the legacy of this uniquely Kansas City epicenter of business and culture.
Ultimately, our work is about creating a connected and vibrant city, in which 18th & Vine is a vital part. The future of this historic district requires that the public, private and nonprofit sectors collaborate effectively; meaningfully engage with the community, and apply the best thinking from all sectors.
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The district is already experiencing a renaissance. Business owners, entertainers, organizations and the community are expressing new interest in investing in the historic 18th & Vine Jazz District. An early example of new vibrancy is the public-private partnership of the $19 million Kansas City Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy, the indoor training facility with four state-of-the-art diamonds that is nearly complete.
The new infusion of energy into 18th & Vine is reviving the district, which in turn is serving as a catalyst for an improved quality of life for the community and our entire city. The new dynamic leadership team of the 18th & Vine Development Policy Committee that has been appointed by Mayor Sly James is providing a governance structure for our efforts and galvanizing new confidence.
The stakes are high, and the scrutiny is strong, as it should be when taxpayer dollars are in action. And yet, to be clear, our collective investment in 18th & Vine is not just about traditional return on investment and economic development. By taking the right steps to revitalize and redevelop this historical, cultural and entertainment district known around the world, we are breaking the cycle of unrealized potential and restoring the district’s original, authentic status as a nexus for commerce and entertainment activities that include jazz, baseball, barbecue and other cultural amenities.
There is no other place like 18th & Vine, and together we are charting its sustainable success. The redevelopment of this historic district has the potential to put Kansas City more distinctively on the map. As you may realize, a world-renowned cultural arts and entertainment district begins with you and me. Through our support of and participation in the district as leaders, neighbors, visitors, investors, performers, entertainers, proprietors and champions, we can restore 18th & Vine as a cultural and historic hub of activity in its rightful place as a distinctive destination for all the world.
As we move ahead, we are looking for new ways to hear from the community, and we invite you to share your ideas with us at www.kcmomentum.org. Please tell us what you would like to do, see and hear in the historic 18th & Vine Jazz District. We invite you to share your knowledge, influence and resources. Only then will we realize the full potential and create new opportunity at 18th & Vine.
Jermaine Reed represents Kansas City’s Third District on the City Council.