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Kansas City Moves Forward With Smart City Plans After Losing Out On Federal Grant

Courtesy photo - Creative Commons

A top official with Kansas City, Missouri, says the city is committed to moving forward with digital innovations.

That's despite this week's news that Kansas City lost it's bid for a $50 million grant to create a so-called "Smart City." Columbus, Ohio, won the prize.

Bob Bennett, the city's Chief Innovation Officer, says private partners have committed somewhere in the neighborhood of $36 million toward executing important parts of the city's proposal.

Revealing details of that plan for the first time on Thursday, Bennett says the local funds will support the city's commitment to closing the digital divide.

"The first thing we’re gonna do is connect the east side of Kansas City through the digitization of the Prospect Max. That’s gonna be job number one," Bennett says.

In addition, he says there is a commitment to provide safety innovations such as public lighting that knows when to power on, as well as greater online access to government offices and materials.

Bennett wouldn't say which companies had pledged their support. "I'm going to let them announce that on their own time," he says.

The city was one of seven finalists for the grant. The Department of Transportation will provide $40 million with an additional $10 million from a global innovation company, Vulcan, Inc.

Bennett says part of the process includes an agreement among the seven cities to share ideas and collaborate.

Laura Ziegler is a community engagement reporter at KCUR 89.3. You can find her at zieglerl@umkc or on Twitter, @Laurazig  

I partner with communities to uncover the ignored or misrepresented stories by listening and letting communities help identify and shape a narrative. My work brings new voices, sounds, and an authentic sense of place to our coverage of the Kansas City region. My goal is to tell stories on the radio, online, on social media and through face to face conversations that enhance civic dialogue and provide solutions.
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