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Livability in Kansas City: Mayoral Race 2019

Posted on 03/05/19 by Heather Heppner, AARP

The race for Kansas City’s next mayor is heating up. Two candidates, Jolie Justus and Quinton Lucas, are in the running to replace Sly James as the next Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri when his term ends this year. AARP is working to ensure that the candidates address livability issues that are top of mind for Kansas City voters, including housing, transportation, and pedestrian safety.

What is Livability? A livable community is safe and secure, has affordable and appropriate housing, diverse transportation options, and supportive community features and services. Once in place, these resources enhance the personal independence and health of community residents and enable residents of all ages to engage in a community’s civic, economic and social life. Policy makers at the federal, state and local levels play a huge role in designing and maintaining cities, towns and neighborhoods so they are active places where residents of all ages can live, work and play.

Why is the Kansas City Mayoral race important to AARP? For years, AARP in Kansas City has been engaged in work that addresses the livability of our community, such as improving transit, the walkability of neighborhoods, pedestrian safety, and innovative public spaces. These are issues of great importance to older voters – and voters age 50+ show up to the polls. AARP is working to ensure that the candidates for Mayor make livability issues a priority in the race. Whoever the next Mayor is, he or she will have a livability champion in AARP – a champion willing to work hard to make Kansas City an even better place to live for people of all ages.

AARP Hosts a Telephone Town Hall Forum with City Manager Troy Schulte

On Tuesday, April 16th hosted a telephone town-hall forum with Kansas City’s City Manager, Troy Schulte. The purpose of the forum was to provide residents with a comprehensive look at what is being done to build an even better Kansas City – with a focus on livability issues such as accessible transportation, affordable housing, great public spaces and opportunities for social involvement. AARP is committed to enhancing livability in Kansas City – and we look forward to working with the city’s administration and the next mayor on initiatives that will make Kansas City an even better place to live, work, pay and retire.

A recording of the telephone town-hall forum will be available HERE soon!

AARP Hosts Mayoral Forum in Kansas City

On March 26th, AARP hosted a Mayoral Forum at the Kansas City Public Library with 9 of the 11 primary candidates running to replace Sly James. Livability was the focus of the forum – with candidates responding to questions related to affordable housing, transportation, public safety and public spaces. These issues are top of mind for 50+ voters in Kansas City based on a recent AARP survey.

Following the primary election on April 2nd, the candidate pool has been reduced to two individuals, Jolie Justus and Quinton Lucas, one of whom will be named the next Mayor of Kansas City. AARP will continue to engage these candidates and the larger community to ensure issues of livability remain top of mind for the candidates as we head into the general election on June 18th.

For more on the AARP Mayoral Forum, check out this article which appeared in the Kansas City Star.

50+ Voters in Kansas City Have Spoken – AARP Kansas City Livability Survey

In January 2019, AARP surveyed 800 registered voters ages 50+ in Kansas City. The voters identified three priority areas of concern for the next Mayor – access to transportation, pedestrian safety and affordable housing. Older Kansas Citians want to stay in their homes and communities as they age and AARP is committed to supporting the efforts of cities, towns, counties and states to make that possible. Check out the full survey report HERE.

Important Election Dates and Reminders

Meet the Candidates

2019 AARP Community Challenge

The 2019 AARP Community Challenge is funding quick action projects in areas such as housing, transportation, public space and “Smart Cities” that spark change and help build momentum to improve livability for all residents.

Have a great project for your community? Apply now! Application deadline is 11:59 PM (ET) on April 17, 2019.

In 2018, the AARP Community Challenge funded two projects in Missouri. BetterBlockKC received a great to fund the installation of an enhanced crosswalk, parking, protected bike lanes and floating bus stops to promote safety and more pedestrian activity along Oak Street. The City of Raymore also received a grant for a new, paved and stamped crosswalk on Municipal Circle to improve safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists, and increase connectivity between nearby civic buildings.

From left, Gladstone Mayor R.D. Mallams, AARP Missouri State Director Craig Eichelman, and Gladstone Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts Director Justin Merkey

AARP Kansas City – Investing in Community Livability

Gladstone’s Hobby Hill Park underwent a major renovation in 2018 to make way for three new playgrounds (two for children, one for adults), a walking trail and garden. The intergenerational renovation project was funded, in part, by a $20,000 donation from AARP. The Hobby Hill Park project is one of many AARP-backed efforts to encourage the development of livable communities throughout Missouri. For more, click HERE.

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