KC Parks Board approves Cooperative Agreement; Summer Groundbreaking Targeted in Swope Park at Elmwood and Gregory
Kansas City, MO: Organizers of the Raise the Woof Campaign for a new KCMO animal shelter, which was overwhelmingly approved by voters in the GO Bond campaign last year, announced today that the shelter will be housed at the newly-named Kansas City Campus for Animal Care in Swope Park. An official groundbreaking is planned for this summer.
The facility will be operated by KC Pet Project, the organization responsible for the turnaround of what is the third largest no-kill, open admission animal shelter in the United States. This public-private partnership project will be built in Swope Park at the corner of Elmwood and Gregory, and will be owned by the City when completed (similar to the Kansas City Zoo and Starlight Theatre).
“We have before us a generational opportunity,” noted Kansas City Mayor Sly James. “The way in which a City treats its animals speaks not only to our humanity, but also to the experience of tens of thousands of Kansas Citians and their families. This public/private partnership ensures that the Kansas City Campus for Animal Care will serve as a beacon for the next generation of animal welfare in America.”
Best Practices + City GO KC Funding
Over the last 10 months, an organizing team which included the City Manager, Finance Director, Parks Board, City Architect, shelter design team and private sector leadership worked continuously to ensure that the public safety and public welfare needs of the City’s 4-legged population could be adequately met in the new campus facility.
The team surveyed best practices in animal welfare nationally, toured facilities which faced similar challenges, navigated site development issues and worked to finalize plans for the shelter design.
Per the Cooperative Agreement just passed by the Parks Board on March 6, the City will contribute $18M in GO KC funding for the project. An operating agreement will also be drafted for both Parks Board and City Council approval. The construction project will adhere to the City’s minority hiring, workforce development and One Percent for Art programs. Funding to relocate the Swope Park Disc Golf site to its new home in the park is also included.
“The new Kansas City Campus for Animal Care will be a welcome addition to Swope Park,” said Mark McHenry, KC Parks and Recreation Director. “Situated between the Lakeside Nature Center and the KC Zoo, the Campus will be easily accessible from throughout the metro area. We look forward to bringing the Parks Board cooperative agreement to the City Council for approval soon.”
City Councilmember Teresa Loar noted that “this has been a Herculean effort for years by so many advocates in the community; it’s so exciting and rewarding to finally see it become real. The City owes a debt of gratitude to those who have worked tirelessly for both two and four-legged citizens of Kansas City.”
Private Sector Funding
In addition to the City’s $18M contribution, the private sector will raise an additional $8M in construction costs, for a total construction cost of $26M for the 55,000- 60,000 square foot campus facility.
“The private sector has stepped up mightily on our 6-year journey,” noted Raise the Woof Co-Chair Roshann Parris. In partnership with the late Adele Hall, community volunteer, and Kristi Wyatt, KC Chamber executive, Parris added that the private sector has contributed almost $4M in in-kind services needed to move the project forward prior to the GO bond campaign, including construction, architectural, legal, advertising, accounting, photography and production support.
“No one has said no,” Parris noted. “It’s been an incredibly heartwarming endeavor, even as we are just now able to officially launch the private sector campaign. Thanks to a deep bench of businesses and individuals who see this as a critical investment in our city’s infrastructure, Kansas City will – for the first time in its history – be able to join the ranks of U.S. cities that exemplify best practices in animal welfare. The generosity of this community has already been extraordinary.”
Parris said that the private sector will exceed its commitment to raise $10M in a combination of cash and in-kind contributions by almost 50%. Now that the Parks Board has approved the Cooperative Agreement, the $8M private campaign can now officially begin. In addition to the almost $4M in in-kind gifts to date, the Raise the Woof campaign hopes to raise up to an additional $5M for an endowment at the Kansas City Campus for Animal Care. The total private sector raise is therefore targeted to exceed at least $15M. Multiple naming opportunities for the new shelter campus will be available.
Co-Chair Kristi Wyatt noted that the private sector response has been so strong in part because of the game-changing Animal Health Corridor and animal welfare focus in our region. “One of our longstanding civic goals has been to continue to grow Kansas City as a global animal health capital,” she explained. “We can think of no better way to continue this effort than by bringing our animal welfare efforts up to national standards at long last.”
“KC Pet Project has been saving lives in our community for the past six years in a nearly 50-year old shelter,’ said Teresa Johnson, CEO/Executive Director and Chief Lifesaving Officer of KC Pet Project. “Despite our virtually condemned warehouse facility, we’re proud that KC Pet Project has become a nationally recognized animal welfare agency for our progressive programs.”
“We’re so grateful for the overwhelming support of the voters who are helping us Raise the Woof,” Johnson continued. “The Kansas City Campus for Animal Care will be a game-changer for the thousands of families touched by KC Pet Project, and their beloved pets. We can’t wait for the opportunity to save lives in this critically-needed new facility.”
Councilwoman Jolie Justus noted that the Kansas City Campus for Animal Care will embody the best of Kansas City. “What we’re doing here is bringing basic City services into the next generation, in a situation that has been an incredible embarrassment for far too long. This is about demonstrating what we, as a community, are made of.”
“This facility,” she continued, “under the operation of the KC Pet Project team, will be one of the most progressive shelters in the United States. I couldn’t be more grateful to live in a city of people who believe that the way we care for the helpless among us says everything about who we are as human beings.”
- Raise the Woof Capital Campaign Chairs: Roshann Parris and Kristi Wyatt
- Honorary Committee Members to be Announced Soon
- For naming opportunity information for the KCCAC, please click here. Please contact Tori Fugate at Tori.Fugate@kcmo.org or 816-513-9818 for more information.