At last, voters weighed in on the KCI airport redevelopment. By a landslide, Kansas Citians said yes!
Kansas City voters showed resounding support for a $1 billion, single terminal at Kansas City International Airport.
With a voter turnout of 20 percent, 75 percent of voters said yes.
So, it’s official. Kansas City is free to demolish KCI’s distinctive trio of terminals in favor of a single terminal. It’s a somewhat surprising result, considering that many people seemed to love the easy-to-navigate, if dated, set up.
A new facility with upgraded restaurants, bigger gates, and more bells and whistles should be open by late 2021.
“When we get it right, there’s nothing we can’t do as a city,” said Kansas City Mayor Sly James.
James put everything into the $1.7 million airport campaign funded by the region’s civic and corporate leadership. He was thrilled with the triumphant vote. His huge push, including TV ads, direct mail, and a strong door-to-door “ground game,” helped convince voters that a new air terminal was in the city’s best interest.
James had to work hard to overcome voter mistrust of government, and a genuine fondness for the 45-year-old facility and its exceptional convenience. No other airport has such short walking distances from curb to gate.
I wasn’t surprised we won but I was surprised by the margin. This is a phenomenal victory,” said former Kansas City Councilman John Sharp. “It shows that people can see when something good is happening for one part of the city, it’s good for the whole city. Our fates are linked.”
The idea for the new airport seemed dead just six months ago after a several-year study from the city. But then, Burns and McDonnell came up with the idea to privately fund the project through user fees. The city decided to open up the project for bids, and Maryland-based Edgemoor was chosen as builder. Edgemoor has worked on 20 airport projects across the nation, including terminal redevelopment at New York City’s LaGuardia Airport.
Edgemoor plans to have a series of design open houses starting later this month. They want to get additional feedback from Kansas Citians on what matters to them in terms of convenience, amenities, and technology.
Are you glad Kansas City will get a new, updated airport? Tell us what you think!