The City of Kansas City, KS, founded in 1868 and incorporated in 1872, is located in a metropolitan area and is the third largest city in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, a region of over two million people. In 1997, voters approved a proposition to unify the city and county governments. The city is part of the "Unified Government or UG" which also includes the cities of Bonner Springs and Edwardsville.
According to 2002 U.S. Census data, Wyandotte County has ranked among the dirtiest 10% of all counties in the US in terms of total environmental releases and ranked among the dirtiest 20% of all counties in the US in terms of impaired surface waters and number of impaired water bodies. The county also ranked among the top 10% of all U.S. counties in terms of housing units with a high risk of lead hazards. In addition to these conditions, the City has identified a number of underused vacant properties that could potentially be defined as ”brownfields eligible”.
Despite these disadvantages, the UG is working collaboratively with the UG Economic Development Council (EDC) and community stakeholders to expand economic development opportunities. This vision has produced a monumental transformation over the last several years with the creation of the metro’s premier tourist and retail destination, including Kansas Speedway, Nebraska Furniture Mart, Cabela’s, Legends Outlets – Kansas City, and Schlitterbahn Vacation Village.
Even with these recent success stories, unfortunately, abandoned and underutilized properties throughout the community still present a significant barrier to future economic development. These properties blight neighborhoods and represent potential environmental hazards for residents. Turning these properties into viable commercial and residential sites and green space will help the UG mitigate these potential environmental impacts while creating jobs and growing the local economy.