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With Two Proposals Submitted, Kansas City Officials Say There's No Rush On Fate Of Kemper Arena

Julie Denesha
Kemper Arena opened in 1974 and once served as the city's primary indoor event space.

The deadline has passed, and two proposals are in, but it may be a while before there's a decision on the fate of Kemper Arena in Kansas City's West Bottoms.

City Council Economic Development Chair Scott Taylor says city staff is vetting the proposals to make sure they are complete and thorough. Until that is determined, limited information about the two applicants will be released.

It's been confirmed that one plan submitted for reuse was from Foutch Brothers LLC, a Kansas City-based development company that previously wanted to convert the aging arena into a youth athletic complex. 

A principal with the firm, Steve Foutch, told the Kansas City Business Journal on Friday that his proposal was a "new and improved version" of the one he presented last year, a $22 million renovation of Kemper into a "two-level hub for youth and amateur sports." 

Scott Taylor says the city can't turn the facility over to any developer until April, when bond indebtedness on Kemper is retired.

“We have plenty of time, only because the bond obligation date is April," says Taylor. "We don't have an immediate rush to do anything. We want to do it right. And we can all agree on that."

Members of the Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Committee are also studying the proposals. 

Kansas City is known for its style of jazz, influenced by the blues, as the home of Walt Disney’s first animation studio and the headquarters of Hallmark Cards. As one of KCUR’s arts reporters, I want people here to know a wide range of arts and culture stories from across the metropolitan area. I take listeners behind the scenes and introduce them to emerging artists and organizations, as well as keep up with established institutions. Send me an email at lauras@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @lauraspencer.
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