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About Kansas City, Kansas

While many cities are known for their expanding skylines, action-packed nightlife, and bustling communities, Kansas City, Kansas has all of that incorporated into a small, diverse, and family oriented community. It has some of the big city amenities with a small town down-home appeal.

Kansas City, Kansas is the third largest city in the state of Kansas and is the county seat of Wyandotte County. The city was incorporated in 1886 and for 73 years was governed by a three-member elected Board of Commissioners. In August of 1982, the city held an election and voters approved a change in the form of city government. Under the Charter Ordinance No. 84 the city changed to a seven-member, Mayor-Council-Administrator for of government in April, 1983.

 KCK Seal


City Hall 1911

On April 1, 1997, voters unanimously approved to consolidate the governments of the City of Kansas City, Kansas (the “City”) and Wyandotte County, Kansas (the “County”), into one jurisdiction; The Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas effective October 1, 1997. The Unified Government, with a 2000 County population of 157,882, covers 155.7 square miles.  Kansas City, Kansas is in an ideal location. Located on the eastern border of the State of Kansas and situated at the confluence of the Missouri and Kansas rivers, we’re part of a greater metropolitan area of nearly 2 million people. The bistate region encompasses Kansas City, Missouri, and suburbs on both sides of the state line.

 City Hall
City Hall  1973  

 Unified Government Logo

 Wyandotte County Courthouse
Wyandotte County Courthouse

 Success Breeds Success 

Wyandotte County citizens set the stage for today’s economic development successes in 1997 when they overwhelmingly agreed to consolidate the county government and City of Kansas City, Kansas government. The community was suffering from years of economic hardships and decline. Citizens were ready for a rebirth. The new form of government was the beginning of the landmark renaissance in the community.

The fresh political dynamic created by consolidation allowed the community to take new, bold approaches to many issues, including economic development. Soon after the Unified Government was launched, the economic development opportunity of a lifetime landed in Wyandotte County. The Kansas Speedway and Village West developments are the most successful economic developments ever built in the State of Kansas, turning mostly undeveloped land into one of the most popular tourist, shopping  and entertainment attractions in the Midwest.

Village West Logo

Kansas Speedway Races
 Kansas Speedway

 Legends sign
The Legends Outlets aVillage West

 Nebraska Furniture
 Nebraska Furniture Mart

 Cabelas Kansas City

Village West has 114 businesses, including 28 restaurants. Those businesses employ nearly 5,700 people, jobs which just five years ago did not exist. They generated over $610 million in retail sales in 2009, producing $41 million in local and state sales tax collections. The 2009 real and personal property taxes levied on Village West is just over $11 million. Before the development was built, that same land area produced only $209,000 in annual property taxes. 

Great Wolf Lodge, an indoor waterpark resort, was the first hotel. Other Village West hotels soon followed, including Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Country Inn and Chateau Avalon. Chateau Avalon is a unique hotel where every room is decorated in a different destination theme. It has been acknowledged by as among the top one percent of hotels worldwide. Construction is currently underway on a new Marriott Residents Inn. 

Village West is also the product of innovative financing and groundbreaking economic development approaches. The development is financed in large part by Sales Tax Revenue Bonds (STAR Bonds), in which sales tax revenues generated by the businesses pay the bonds used to build the infrastructure and key components of the development. The taxpayers of Wyandotte County nor the State of Kansas are obligated to pay a dime on the STAR Bonds should a project fail. That obligation rests solely with the investors who purchased the bonds.  

The Village West development has sparked construction of surrounding retail which is not part of the STAR Bond district, including a Wal-Mart Supercenter, Best Buy, Kohl’s Department store, JC Penney, Target, National Tire and Battery and Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants. The Plaza at the Speedway development generate sales and property taxes which go to the State of Kansas, Unified Government Schlitterbahn Water Parkand public schools. 

The synergy generated by the Kansas Speedway and Village West is also creating new destination tourism attractions. The Schlitterbahn Vacation Village Resort opened in 2009 and continues to expand. It is slated to be a $750 million water park, retail shopping and dining destination. Nearly $200 million in private funds had been invested before a dime of STAR Bond dollars were even issued. Schlitterbahn is hiring 300 workers for the upcoming summer season.

And More Success

The Unified Government was recognized by Site Selection magazine for its $400 million deal to bring a major expansion of the Cerner Corporation and an 18,000 seat multipurpose soccer stadium for Sporting Club, Kansas City’s Major League Soccer team, to Village West. The corporate real estate and economic development magazine ranked this project as one of the top deals in North America in its May 2011 issue.

The Cerner Corporation/Sporting Kansas City brings 4,000 new high-paying healthcare technology jobs to the State of Kansas; 

  • Creates several thousand additional jobs connected with the sports stadium and spin-off employment
  • Contributes to the States goal of becoming a national leader in the healthcare field
  • Creates educational and job opportunities for Wyandotte County students
  • Brings Kansas its first and only major league sports franchise

The Village West area also welcomed a $386 million Hollywood Casino to Kansas Speedway, which is also planning to construct a new hotel in 2015.

This continued success and established track record is what attracted Google to Kansas City. On Wednesday, March 30th, 2010, Google announced its selection of Kansas City, Kansas, as the location for its ultra-high-speed fiber project. Kansas City was the first city out of 1,100 applicants to be selected for this unique and innovative partnership.

On July 23, 2014, the Unified Government joined Sporting Club and U.S. Soccer to announce plans for construction of a $75 million development soccer training facility in Kansas City, Kansas. The brand new training center will be home to the premiere soccer development complex in the world and make Wyandotte County the new home of American soccer. Construction is scheduled to commence in late 2014-early 2015.

Other highlights include high rankings for job creation and being known as a business friendly city. Sara Lee Corp, General Motors, Proctor and Gamble and Kellogg’s are just a few of the nation’s leading and innovative companies that have chosen Kansas City, Kansas and Wyandotte County as their home.  Kansas City has four school districts that provide services to public and private students living in Wyandotte County. The Kansas City, Kansas Schools is the largest school district and consists of 49 schools. In 2012, KCK was named one of America’s Promise Alliance’s 100 Best Communities for Young People presented by ING.

Regardless of your interests – history, concerts, family fun or dozens of other activities – From Kansas City, Kansas provides access to a huge variety of fun and fascinating attractions. For more information about Kansas City, Kansas, visit the Kansas City, Kansas Chamber of Commerce or  the KCK Convention & Visitors Bureau websites.

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