KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- A developer is planning to connect KCK and KCMO by giving an old bridge in the West Bottoms a “creative crossing” complete with a food hall.
The old Rock Island Railroad Bridge near Hy-Vee Arena railroad bridge was built in 1905 and carried fully loaded freight trains. It’s been vacant for more than 40 years.
But use your imagination for a moment. Picture the bridge widened, and coming out to buy coffee, or to eat at a food hall or even attend events. That is exactly what developer Michael Zeller wants to do.
“This is a proposed public/private partnership with KCK to combine a New York City-like high line trail, with an outdoor food hall and open-air venue,” Zeller said. “It’s all out over a river 40 feet.”
The bridge is owned entirely by KCMO, but it sits in the state of Kansas.
Flying Truss development firm is leasing it from KCMO for 50 years, and the partner in this multi-facetted project is KCK.
Zeller says they have plans to use cantilevers to expand the 18-foot width of the bridge 20-30 feet out each side.
The idea is to attract visitors to the Riverfront and connect the two Kansas Cities.
KCK says they are looking at this as a creative way for people to get across the bridge by foot or bike and hopes to start by making it a trail way.
"This is just furthering the connectivity," Katherine Carttar, Director of the Unified Government said. "You can go from the West Bottoms to Strawberry Hill and never have to be on a street.”
"We just love the development of the West Bottoms," Hyvee Arena Senior Director Jeff Foster said. "Anything that helps bring people down here, helps the arena, helps our tenants, helps the visibility of downtown Kansas City. And it’s unique.”
There are several phases to this project. The first phase will turn the bridge into a bike and pedestrian bridge, complete with a coffee shop. Zeller says they’re currently working with the Unified Government to do a bond to pay for that.
The second phase will transform the 1905 bridge into a bustling entertainment center and food hall. This phase will be privately funded.
If everything goes to plan, they can begin construction on phase one as early as this fall with plans to have that phase complete by July 4th of 2020.