Progress continues on one of the most visible of the EDC’s Big 4 strategic goals, the “587” project to develop largely vacant property surrounding the strategic interchange of I-435 and Highway 152.
Identified as one of the Big 4 targets through 2023, the 587 project is the focus of a master plan and economic study by the nationally recognized engineering and design firm, Olsson. The name “587” was developed by combining the two highway designations, 435 and 152.
Korey P. Schulz, team leader with Olsson, said a big focus currently is identifying “wow” features that would be a fit for the location and create a unique regional draw. Next will come the development of specific plans as to what improvements would be needed to support such development.
“There will be a time for budgets and details,” he said. “But right now we need to dream big.”
This outlook is not mere optimism. The largely empty interchange of I-435 and Highway 152 is located in a sweet spot between the Liberty/I-35 area and Highway 169. It’s also the last, largely undeveloped interchange on I-435 in all of Greater Kansas City. Many see it as ripe for a regional destination or destinations.
“There’s so much happening, but 435/152 is a blank slate,” Schultz said. “Let’s do this right, do something big and make this the new hub. It’s the only thing left with an interstate, a highway and very little else there. We want something that people will want to come back to for years and years.”
When complete, Olsson’s work is expected to provide a master plan, site infrastructure plan, cost estimates and revenue sources for promoting development. A key will be the identification of likely development components at the location.
“The ultimate goal is to create an area with amenities that will bring people across the state line or the river to visit Clay County and, more importantly, to keep residents from having to make the same journeys,” EDC Executive Director David Slater said.
More Big 4
Other Big 4 goals include expansion of the KC Tech Academy in Liberty; expansion of the University of Missouri Center for Excellence in Orthopedics at Liberty Hospital; and creation of 50 new businesses and 5,000 jobs, doubling growth projected in the original, 2013 Strategic Imitative.
The Tech Academy effort targets creation of the most effective advanced manufacturing and skilled trades workforce in the nation. The Orthopedics Center will grow the current University of Missouri and Liberty Hospital partnership into a major treatment and research facility.