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Editorial on the Winchester TIF

The resolution between Kansas City Mo. and the Raytown School District seems to be a done deal and Raytown students will benefit from the hard work of the School District Administration and the friends of the District in demanding KCMO do the right thing.

One party in this tale has still not received justice: the homeowners in the Winchester TIF District. Over 20 years ago, they were promised adequate roads, sidewalks, and city water and sewer.  This was to be their compensation for allowing Kansas City to locate a huge commercial development in their midst.

Now, KCMO wants to do less than promised and make residents jump through hoops to benefit. For example,  they may have to demonstrate financial need, cost-share in improvements, etc.  This bait-and-switch tactic is both unfair and unwise. Potentially, this leaves Winchester residents and Raytown students without sidewalks, resulting in pedestrians sharing narrow, dangerous streets with vehicular traffic.

Click HERE to see the original agreement.

Click HERE to see the latest proposal. 

TIFs in the metro area have left a trail of broken promises and changed deals.  The culprits are usually the developers and governmental bodies involved. The victims are the citizens.  This behavior results in injustice in the short-term, but results in long-term citizen resistance to future economic development.  Government bodies should be held accountable to keep their word, even if the promise was made by others more than 20 years ago. Elected officials should remember that, although they may let the developers walk away unscathed, they may still be in the castle when the peasants finally storm it with pitchforks and torches.

The first step in rectifying this situation should be the upgrading of the roads and sidewalks in the Winchester area for the safety of the public. There is no safe place to walk in many parts of the residential portion of the area. The roads in the commercial portion are wide and bordered by sidewalks, while the residential portion has dangerously narrow roads bordered by 3-foot ditches.  In many areas, two cars cannot pass safely, let alone a car and a school bus. It is easy to imagine a disaster if a school bus crests a hill only to find a car coming from the other direction, or a diver swerves to avoid a student walking in the road to avoid a mud-filled ditch.

The following photos illustrate the type of roads the Winchester TIF should be obligated to upgrade.


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