Joco Opinion

Editorial — Mission Gateway endures another untimely setback

The long-troubled Mission Gateway project is being delayed again, and the developer is making noises about seeking even more taxpayer assistance to finish it.

Earlier this year, city officials signed off on what were thought to be the final incentives for the project.

But as The Star reported recently, developer Tom Valenti now says he wants to add more retail space. He’s also waiting for final figures on construction costs and pondering the possibility of asking for more public help.

“Everything is taking far longer than I thought,” Valenti said.

That’s an understatement.

Mission residents have been waiting years for something to replace the shopping center that once stood near Shawnee Mission Parkway and Roeland Drive. The site has been an empty, dispiriting mess for most of those years.

Original plans called for an aquarium and a hotel, but both have been dropped from the project.

Mission city officials appear almost resigned to another request for public assistance.

“If and when they make the ask, we’ll consider it,” Mayor Laura McConwell said. “...There will be questions that will be asked.”

One of those questions ought to be how much is enough when it comes to taxpayers jump-starting this project?

The involvement of a private developer is supposed to bring plenty of expertise in getting a deal, as brokered with the city, done in timely fashion. Mission Gateway has been anything but a timely project.

Ultimately, Valenti and his company need to keep their promises to redevelop a key plot of ground in northeast Johnson County.

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