Major Initiatives

Transforming Vacant Spaces into Vibrant Places (V2V)

The common narrative of our neighborhood histories is one of declining populations, disinvestment and decay beginning in the 1950s. As you can see today, abandoned homes and vacant lots pockmark the landscape. V2V's goal is simple - accelerate the rate at which these vacant properties can be moved back into productive use. The solutions however are complicated; so complicated that no one program can hope to fix it. Hence, over 40 individuals from 30 businesses, government departments, nonprofits and neighborhoods are working together untangling the web of issues slowing the pace of reuse. Five barriers are being tackled: clearing titles of abandoned properties, increasing demand for urban properties, greening vacant lots for health, aesthetics and farming, promoting innovation and efficiency in processes to acquire and rehab buildings, and securing needed capital.

A Purpose Built Community in Wendell Phillips Neighborhood

The purpose of such a community is to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty by: • Establishing a seamless cradle to college education continuum that ensures student growth, learning and achievement at every level • Creating high quality mixed income housing where all residents can thrive • Introducing community wellness programs and facilities that promote healthy living and productive lives

The Kansas City Neighborhood Academy (KCNA)

KCNA is the cornerstone of our education continuum for the Purpose Built Community, having opened in the fall of 2016 enrolling Pre K through 3rd grade students. It is modeled after the very successful Drew School in Atlanta which over time has erased racial and socio-economic achievement gaps. With KCNA open, our focus is now building mixed income housing. UNI has options on properties near the school and is engaging Wendell Phillips residents to guide the types and aesthetics of the housing to build. We hope to break ground this year.

Kansas City Catalytic Urban Redevelopment KC-CUR

UNI is partnering with the City of Kansas City, LISC and the Mid America Regional Council in this effort that focuses on commercial development within the UNI. Through a systematic analysis, 13 areas were winnowed to three priority areas: Troost at 31st, Prospect at 31st and Ivanhoe on 39th Street. UNI is the implementing agency that is charged with pushing development to these areas. Importantly, KCUR partners are seeking investors to create a patient capital pool of $25 to $40 million.