Friday, April 24, 2009

Climate Center takes its first step

Today, I was proud to officially announce that the City of Kansas City, Missouri, through its Parks and Recreation Department, has been awarded a grant from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to study and plan for the development of a Climate Sustainability Center.

It is exciting to stand on the site and think about the opportunity to both change the way the world thinks about green and change the way we have historically seen the Eastside.
While was standing next to the yet undone piece of Brush Creek, it occurred to me that this creek was why I got involved in politics in the first place.

Specifically, it was September 17, 1977 that prompted my entrance in the race for City Council. Many of you can remember that a storm caused flash flooding as Brush Creek quickly spilled its bounds and flooded this entire area. In the morning, twelve people were dead and 5 feet of floodwater covered where we were standing this afternoon. I couldn’t understand how in a major metropolitan area 12 people could die due to rain.

And so I ran for City Council. And I was fortunate as Mayor to secure funding to nearly completely reconstruct Brush Creek and build the Bruce Watkins Drive.

Because of the stimulus we now have money to finish this portion of Brush Creek and replace the aging bridge that spans it now.

And if you drive on the Watkins, while the road is beautiful the neighborhoods along it are still crumbling.

But with the Green Impact Zone we hope to turn around those neighborhoods, reinvest in people and jobs and turn the corner we have long been looking to turn. Right here. Right now.

And on top of completing these long over due projects, today we stood on a cluttered piece of land to announce a project that represents the largest investment east of Troost since the Brush Creek Project and the Bruce Watkins Drive.

As you all know, I like big projects.

This, my friends, is a big project.