Civic leaders in Kansas City are going to feel like heroes if their plan to build a hockey arena manages to lure the Penguins.
But if they don't? Well, things might get pretty grim. Because the arena is not the only thing they have built in recent years. Other enormous projects include an entertainment district and..gasp... a convention center upgrade. That's expensive stuff. And a few people are starting to wonder:
The Penguins hockey team might move here. The Power & Light entertainment district is signing up tenants. And additional conventions are being recruited for the expanded Bartle Hall.
Kansas City residents may want to cross their fingers that all those deals come through. Because if they don’t, residents might find more potholes in their streets and more broken equipment in their parks.
That’s one of the sobering messages from a new report on Kansas City’s spending for streets, bridges, parks and the like.
The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce found that the city’s commitment to maintaining its infrastructure has been faltering — and the situation could get worse.
And here's a former city auditor, now a candidate for mayor, slamming the arena project in an interview with Governing.com:
What's your biggest regret on leaving the auditors' office?
The regret that I have leaving the office is that I was not aggressive enough. While it seemed like I was aggressive as an auditor, there was so much more that I could have done. The city, for example, entered into a deal to build a basketball arena that just stinks. And I never took that on as an audit. It would have been difficult and risky, but I should have done it. Also, the city is in very shaky financial condition, and while I did a lot to work with that, I should have done more.
I'd vote for him. And not just because of his views on the arena. His name is Mark Funkhouser. And I think just about any city helmed by a "Mayor Funkhouser" is headed in the right direction.
By the way, here's more on the Sprint Center that KC is using to lure the Pens.