As expected, the full Kansas City Council approved financing arrangements for a proposed downtown convention hotel on Thursday.
One by one, the council members each spoke in favor or the convention hotel. Then the body voted unanimously to issue $35 million in bonds for construction, provide $4.9 million worth of land between Bartle Hall and the Kauffman Center, and endorse property tax abatement for the hotel.
The council members and Mayor Sly James emphasized that the deal is designed to protect the city against being liable for bond-payback from the general fund and that the property involved is currently generating no tax revenues for the city or for the school or library district.
The council made the hotel approval the crowning event of its last day sitting in its present form. Six council members will be replaced by newly-elected ones next week.
The council meeting began just after noon to accommodate a heavy load of last-minute business. It lasted past 7 p.m. as the council members reminisced and joked with each other and praised both the remaining and retiring members of a group that gained a reputation for being harmonious, civil and productive.
Several noted that the past four years had been a marked contrast to the years of argument, conflict and contention during the Mark Funkhouser administration.
The council left a vote on a controversial proposed student living project at 52nd and Troost for the next council. They urged the Catholic Diocese and groups of neighbors and parishioners who oppose the project to continue to work to try to achieve some compromise.