July 25, 2024


Travel Finishes First

Don’t spend Kansas City neighborhood money on ‘major’ events


Editorials and other Opinion material provide views on difficulties crucial to our neighborhood and are impartial from the perform of our newsroom reporters.

The Neighborhood Tourist Development Fund helps bring people to town to enjoy public events such as the Art Westport festival.

The Neighborhood Tourist Improvement Fund helps convey folks to city to appreciate general public events these as the Artwork Westport festival.

File photo

The Kansas Town Council is thinking of key changes to an obscure software termed the Community Vacationer Development Fund. It offers about $1.5 million each year to dozens of modest and not-so-smaller groups for compact festivals and general public activities.

It is much more than 30 years old. Now, while, some at Town Corridor want to established apart 30% of the fund for “major” activities and “city sponsored” things to do. Which is about $400,000 a calendar year.

We urge the council to carry on cautiously. The NTDF, as it’s identified, has experienced its share of challenges in the past, but it supplies significant income to lesser functions that provide chances for citizens and guests every calendar year. These routines ought to be safeguarded.

It was not supposed to defray the expenditures of a parade, or big situations these kinds of as the Globe Cup or the NFL draft. It should not be made use of for people or equivalent expenses. And there are other means for metropolis staffers to purchase seats or tickets to fundraising gatherings instead of raiding the NTDF, as some have proposed.

The fund was invented in 1989, as a previous-minute addition to a bill in the Missouri legislature authorizing nearby taxes to promote tourism and develop Bartle Corridor. The idea? Use 10% of funds produced from voter-approved restaurant and lodge taxes to market “cultural, social, ethnic, historic, educational and leisure activities” in neighborhoods.

It speedily became controversial. Some referred to as the NTDF a “slush fund” with tiny accountability or suitable document-maintaining. Mayors, from Emanuel Cleaver to Sly James, believed some of the dollars must be set apart for huge-time activities, these types of as a citywide arts competition.

A special committee ordinarily spends months reviewing apps prior to thing to consider by the entire Town Council. In the past the council has added expenditures, or transformed the committee’s tips. Staffing for the NTDF committee has been spotty, also, which is a acquainted dilemma at Town Hall.

However by it all, the NTDF fund has done a fairly very good position boosting the tiny activities that honor Kansas City’s loaded cultural history and diversity. In 2022 and 2023, the list of grantees consists of acquainted names: $27,000 for the American Jazz Museum, $22,300 for the Kansas City Pleasure Parade and Competition, $10,000 for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

NTDF cash goes for the Celebration at Station, the Artwork Westport competition and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.

But lesser teams get money, as well. There’s $1,800 for a tour of households in historic Northeast, $2,400 for a youth sports activities festival in Platte County, $6,700 for a fall competition in Waldo. For dozens of smaller teams, NTDF is significant funding. With no it, these occasions would possible vanish, leaving Kansas Citians poorer for it.

That’s why setting apart nearly a single-3rd of the fund for more substantial functions is troublesome. Important activities have a considerably easier time attracting help from businesses and people. For those endeavors, $1,500 or $2,000 is mere pocket adjust.

The same income can be lifetime or demise for a community crafts reasonable.

We assistance the Earth Cup, of study course, and the football draft, and we like a excellent parade as considerably as any person. But we appreciate little weekend recitals and concert events, as well. Or a dance general performance. Or a university reasonable, or a walk by means of a local community back garden. All are supported this 12 months by the NTDF.

A hearing on the proposal is tentatively set for Wednesday. There have been various delays in looking at the approach, even so, and even more delays are feasible.

Kansas City’s neighborhood vacationer fund has not been dilemma-free of charge, by any usually means. On the full, nonetheless, it has fulfilled its objective of advertising Kansas Metropolis to visitors and to Kansas Citians. Diverting considerable sums to functions that can raise cash in other methods does a disservice to the group, and really should be resisted at 12th and Oak.

This story was initially revealed July 13, 2022 5:00 AM.

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