State lawmaker offers funding solution for UMKC downtown arts campus

Conspicuously absent from Gov. Eric Greitens’ budget was any allocation of funding toward the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s long-sought downtown arts campus, but a Clay County Republican has an idea for getting $48 million in public funds for the project.

Rep. Noel Shull recently introduced a resolution that would authorize the Missouri Health and Educational Facilities Authority to issue up to $48 million in bonds as the state’s share for UMKC’s $96 million effort to build a downtown arts campus. UMKC wants its arts campus on the western edge of the Crossroads Arts District just to the south of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

Private donors, led by Julia Irene Kauffman’s $20 million pledge, came up with $48 million to contribute to the downtown arts campus. It’s a development seen by UMKC as a means to replace aging facilities for its arts programs currently at its Volker campus and one seen by city leaders as a benefit to Kansas City’s downtown.

The university had contemplated tapping a state matching grant program for an additional $48 million after reaching its private fundraising goal. That program requires the state’s agreement and an appropriation of money.

Schull’s measure, House Concurrent Resolution No. 19, was referred to the House Budget Committee and is scheduled for a hearing Thursday.

Read more: Kansas City Star

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