Economic Development Driving Turnaround In South Kansas City

08 May 2017 12:28 PM | Vickie Wolgast (Administrator)

Representatives from Cerner, Burns & McDonnell, Red Bridge Shopping Center, Three Trails Industrial Park and Legacy Development discussed economic development at the South Kansas City Alliance Economic Development Summit exactly one year ago today.

“It’s easy access,” said Ron Coker, a senior vice president at Burns & McDonnell, who recently completed an expansion at 9450 Ward Parkway that will house 1,400 engineers, architects and construction specialists.

“If your business requires mobility, it’s a great, central location," Coker added, noting that much of the Burns & McDonnell workforce is spread across the city. Coker said South Kansas City has an opportunity to become a technology gateway.

“We would love for all of those young engineers to live and play right around our offices in South Kansas City,” he says. “One of the challenges that the city has is, we have to get attractions that make it (South Kansas City) a viable, attractive opportunity.”

Dave Claflin of Legacy Development says bringing more services and amenities to South Kansas City is a bit of a “chicken and egg” situation.

“The millennials and younger workers don’t want to come in until the stores, the coffee shops, the restaurants are here, yet those kind of stores and restaurants are unlikely to be here unless they see demographic evidence that those customers exist,” Claflin said.

Legacy Development manages the Ward Parkway Shopping Center and just completed a renovation of Truman’s Marketplace in nearby Grandview.

“I think one of the most critical functions is tax revenue,” Claflin said. “If you don’t have the shopping inside your taxing boundaries, those tax dollars are going to other municipalities.”

Claflin said one benefit of South Kansas City is its particularly active neighborhood association.

Sixth District At-Large Councilman Scott Taylor said South Kansas City still offers affordable housing and neighborhood schools through the Center School District.

“The number – thousands – of new jobs that have been created in South Kansas City is great because that creates a level of certainty and investment, potentially more people moving into our neighborhoods that have been on the market for a little bit,” Taylor said.

Taylor added that Center has kept class sizes small at a time when many schools just across the state line in Johnson County, Kansas, have faced funding cuts.

*This article is reposted from KCUR

South KC Chamber of Commerce

406 E. Bannister Road, Suite F
Kansas City, MO 64131-3028

Phone: (816) 761-7660
Fax: (816) 761-7340





South Kansas City is one of the fastest growing areas in the KCMO metropolitan area. Millions of investment dollars are being spent in this region, which makes it a prime location for businesses to grow and prosper. 

The South KC Chamber is dedicated to working with KCMO's city leadership, our business members, and local community organizations to create a positive, growth-oriented business environment in South Kansas City. We would love to support your company's growth too! 


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