South Loop project nears funding goal with $129.2 million raised, aims for 2026 World Cup deadline

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Kansas City, Missouri – Kansas City is making progress on its plan to create a park above a section of Interstate 670, turning an unsightly part of downtown into a public green area. Construction is expected to start by the end of this year. Recently, the Kansas City Council secured $57 million from state and federal sources for the South Loop project, which spans four blocks. They aim to have part of the park ready in time for the influx of soccer enthusiasts coming for the 2026 World Cup. According to KCUR, the latest funding brings the total to $129.2 million, nearly reaching the $135 million city officials estimated is needed to commence construction.

Other sources of funding so far include:

  • An anticipated $30 million from Missouri’s 2025 fiscal year budget, which is awaiting approval from Missouri Gov. Mike Parson
  • $10 million in city money
  • $22 million from private donors (including H&R Block, JE Dunn Construction, Americo Life Inc., Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, and Evergy)

Additionally, the South Loop project has benefited from a $10 million state tax credit, as reported by the mayor’s office. Kansas City also sought $75 million from a federal grant offered by the U.S. Department of Transportation, but unfortunately, they did not secure this funding. Mayor Quinton Lucas, who strongly supports the project, mentioned that the city will continue to pursue federal funds and will also look for further support from private corporations and foundations.

“My preference, of course, is always more private funding,” Lucas said as reported by KCUR. “Private donors have been an important part of this.”

Read also: Kansas City Council approves new measures to combat illegal dumping

Once completed, the South Loop Project is expected to cost $217.2 million. This initiative would transform downtown Kansas City by constructing an urban park over I-670. Covering 5.5 acres from Wyandotte Street to Grand Boulevard, the South Loop will offer a new space for public recreation and greenery, which is presently lacking in much of the downtown area. Moreover, placing a cap over I-670 could help diminish noise and pollution from traffic, and mitigate the urban “heat island” effect caused by extensive paved areas.

“This is a natural part of how we pitch Kansas City for the future,” Lucas said. “To me, this is an investment on how we can build more revenues for Kansas City long-term to attract more residents, and continue the renaissance downtown that we have seen since I was probably 15 or 16 years old in this city.”

Officials have noted that the South Loop will serve as a link between the business district and the Crossroads, aligning with the city’s initiatives to counteract the adverse effects caused by highway construction. The city is actively working on projects aimed at restoring connections in communities, particularly those predominantly Black and Latino, which were disrupted by the construction of Highway 71 and I-35.

“It’s going to dramatically reduce the harmful impacts of the highway that’s cutting through the middle of downtown,” said Justin Short, policy chair of the Downtown Neighborhood Association. “That’s noise pollution, that’s standard carbon emission pollution, because we’re talking about planting hundreds of trees and green space and all this stuff.”

Short, who lives in the downtown area, is thrilled about the prospect of having a new gathering space in the neighborhood.

Read also: Kansas City Public Schools launches “Building The Blueprint” initiative for school facilities

“It’s one of those once-in-a lifetime, generational projects, like we have had so many of in the past 25 years,” Short said. “This is just another addition to groundbreaking projects in Kansas City.”

Learn more about the projects here.

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