James Seeks to Salvage KCI Project

Mayor Sly James addressed a week’s worth of uncertainty over the fate of a new terminal at Kansas City Airport, issuing a statement this afternoon that called for a new round of negotiations between the city and the Maryland development team previously selected for the job.

His message followed last week’s City Council decision to hold off on endorsing a memorandum of understanding with Edgemoor Partners, which earlier this fall had emerged as the preferred developer, following six months of civic discussion that at times turned heated.

“For 6½ years, we’ve enjoyed unprecedented levels of progress and momentum in Kansas City,” James said. “I believe that is, in no small part, the result of confronting complex problems with thoughtful analysis, precise data, and a careful deliberative process. Unfortunately, the action last week on the MOU was the opposite of that. “

His bigger concern, he said, was that in the wake of November’s referendum authorizing the city to move forward with a single-terminal design at KCI, last week’s action by the council might undermine voters’ trust in the city’s ability to lead. “I won’t let that happen,” James declared.

To that end, he called  for City Manager Troy Schulte to continue engaging in good-faith negotiations with Edgemoor and bring back a revised MOU for the council to consider. If that can’t happen, he said, “the process for selecting a developer will start over.”

Voters, he said, “are asking us to lead this city, to set aside personal interests, and get our job done quickly so construction can start on schedule. We would be well-advised to heed their call. … Let’s build our new terminal.”