Government & Politics

Kansas City is a finalist for a grant that would revitalize an Independence Avenue neighborhood

These residential buildings in the 1200 block of Independence Avenue are part of the Chouteau Courts housing project.
These residential buildings in the 1200 block of Independence Avenue are part of the Chouteau Courts housing project. jtoyoshiba@kcstar.com

Kansas City is a finalist for a highly competitive neighborhood transformation grant and this week hosted a team from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that will judge whether it should win the funds.

Kansas City is one of nine finalists for a Choice Neighborhoods grant of up to $30 million. It would help rejuvenate the area around and near the deteriorating Chouteau Courts public housing complex on Independence Avenue.

“I want to win this because it will change the neighborhood,” Mayor Sly James said after he addressed a HUD group Tuesday that toured the proposed Paseo Gateway district, which would extend from Interstate 29/35 to Chestnut Trafficway and from Cliff Drive to Ninth Street.

Kansas City applied in February for the multimillion-dollar grant. The application calls for relocating about 500 residents of the 1960s-era Chouteau Courts apartments to smaller mixed-income sites over the next five years. It also aims to improve the district’s educational, health, business development and social services, along with better transit and infrastructure.

Kansas City was the first of the finalist cities to host a tour and discussion about its proposal. City officials said they learned on this week’s tour that five grants will be awarded and that the winners will be announced by late September.

More than 30 applicants sought the grants. Other finalists are Atlanta; Baltimore; Boston; Camden, N.J.; Memphis, Tenn.; Milwaukee; Renton, Wash.; and Sacramento, Calif.

To reach Lynn Horsley, call 816-226-2058 or send email to lhorsley@kcstar.com.

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