By Leilani Haywood
After Kansas City’s City Council defeated a proposed ordinance to cede 95 acres to Lee’s Summit and the Paragon Star project, project architects deleted that land from their master plan. Kansas City stakeholders in the 95 acres adjacent to the planned development support the Paragon Star project but don’t want to lose possible revenue that could benefit Hickman Mills school district and south Kansas City.
Kansas City Councilman Scott Taylor representing the 6th district which is south of I-470 going east from State Line Rd. to View High Dr. and south to 155th St. says, “Everybody in Kansas City thinks this is good development for Lee’s Summit. The issue is really giving up land currently owned by Kansas City Missouri for nothing. The thought of giving up land to another community for nothing in return for potential lost tax revenue for the school district was one of the issues.”
Taylor added that South Kansas City is enjoying a lot of momentum with the new Cerner campus that created thousands of jobs. “People are proud of South Kansas City with development that’s happened last couple of years. We’re looking forward to Cerner’s next phase of expansion which should bring another 3,000 new jobs to the campus.”
South Kansas City Alliance President Stacy Johnson said she was shocked that Kansas City was even considering ceding 95 acres. “It didn’t make sense that our city would be willing to cede future tax dollars. Traffic was a big issue but the bigger issue was the loss of future revenue for our city for Hickman Mills school district.” The additional 95 acres would have created a parkway connecting I-470 and Bannister Rd which would have provided a northern access point into the development.
After that defeat with Kansas City, Paragon Star regrouped with the city of Lee’s Summit that approved forming a Transportation Development District (TDD) or the I-470 Western Gateway Transportation
Development District at the January 18 meeting. The TDD levies an additional 1% sales tax on Summit Wood shoppers and expands to 490 acres with the Paragon Star development and some tracts along I-470.
Lee’s Summit Councilman Dave Mosby expressed concern that shoppers are bearing the burden of paying for the project. “We are put the burden of many costs of this project on the shopper,” he said.
Mosby attempted to have five items related to development on private land removed from the proposed ordinance for the TDD that he thought shouldn’t be paid by the sales tax but was defeated. The ordinance creating the TDD passed with a 5-3 vote. Councilmembers who voted in favor of the TDD include Rob Binney, Trish Carlyle, Craig Faith, Diane Forte and Diane Seif. Councilmembers Phyllis Edson, Dave Mosby and Fred DeMoro voted ‘no’ on the measure.
The projected 210-acre $400 million mixed use development at the intersection of View High Drive and I-470 is expected to generate an additional $7 million in sales tax revenue. The sports and recreation complex will include baseball fields, a clubhouse and cantina as well as a major trail head serving the Little Blue Trace and Rock Island Corridor Trails as well as a field house. There will also be bocce, pickleball and sand volleyball courts as well as a zipline and rope course and Ferris wheel.
The development also includes two hotels, several restaurants and a shopping district. Developers and city officials broke ground in November 2016 with plans to open the first soccer fields this spring. Lee’s Summit is already providing an estimated $13 million in tax increment financing for the soccer complex and retail village.