In parts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 of this series, we traced the path of establishing a jazz museum in Kansas City from initial ideas in the 1960s up to a 1989 press conference announcing a solid plan of placing the complex between 20th and 21st streets on Vine.
Now, let’s follow as that plan dissolves into one to plop the complex down into…well, you’ll see.
“…With a recent $20 million boost from the city, longtime plans for revival of the [18th and Vine] area have never stood a better chance of succeeding….
“But some people are wary, particularly of the jazz hall….
“Councilman Emanuel Cleaver, who recommended to the council that money be spent on the jazz hall, said he knew many people had doubts.
“‘The doomsayers are out in mass to do damage to this before it gets started.’ Cleaver said….
“The city is prepared to issue $5 million in bonds for the hall project in April, but only if the other financing and construction plans are solid….”
—The Kansas City Star, December 31, 1989
A map accompanying the article shows the Jazz Hall of Fame between 20th and 21st Street on the west side of Vine, in the public works buildings across from the castle where the Black Archives would be housed. The Negro League Museum is pictured in a smaller building on the northeast corner of 21st and Vine.
“Almost a year after Kansas City civic and arts leaders announced a site for an International Jazz Hall of Fame, directors have yet to be named and little consensus exists on how to proceed….
“The money for the jazz hall – $8 million – was appropriated sooner than supporters expected and before they had plans in place. Now plans for the hall will have to be developed together with 18th and Vine.
“‘We need to broaden the concept so we can look at the area as a whole,’ [the city manager] said….
“A master plan would recommend the exact location of the hall, now proposed to be in vacant public works buildings near 20th and Vine, and how it would fit into the overall 18th and Vine project….
“The Vine Street site was announced last March, but city officials have since said new buildings may be cheaper and more practical….”
—The Kansas City Star, February 26, 1990
The city then hired a Boston firm to conduct a study on redeveloping the entire district. I have few articles on it, but from what I can tell that study took at least the remainder of 1990 to complete.
“Under plans unveiled to a City Council committee Monday, the jazz hall and black history museums would be built north of 18th Street between the Paseo and Woodland Avenue at the south end of Parade Park.
“Until recently, plans were to put the jazz hall and other buildings along Vine just north of 21st Street.
“A consultant and several groups involved in the project now recommend the Parade Park site….
“The council's Rules and Audits Committee reviewed plans for the jazz hall on Monday and passed a resolution asking the city manager for a report within 90 days on the cost of building and operating the center….
“As now conceived, the jazz hall would be on the corner of 18th and Vine. The academy and performing arts center, black history museum, and the baseball hall would be north of 17th Terrace on the perimeter of a rectangular plaza area.
“About one-fourth of Parade Park would be used, but the outdoor swimming pool would remain….”
—The Kansas City Star, April 30, 1991
“Kansas City's parks and recreation commissioners are voicing cautious enthusiasm about plans to place a proposed jazz hall of fame complex on park property.
“’I’m not objecting to anything, it's just that I wasn't quite aware of it," said [the] chairman of the parks commission. ‘It’s been a surprise.’”
—The Kansas City Star, July 4, 1991
Parks commissioners approved the Jazz Hall of Fame being built in Parade Park on August 6, 1991.
“The estimated cost of building and operating a jazz hall of fame complex at 18th and Vine streets in Kansas City wasn't music to the ears of the City Council Thursday.
“The jazz hall, a Negro Leagues baseball museum and new black archives would cost up to $36.9 million to build and furnish, planners told the council. And the complex would need an operating subsidy of about $1.9 million a year, they said….
“[Mayor] Cleaver…said one way to save money would be to put the jazz hall, baseball museum and archives under one roof.
“As now designed, the jazz hall and baseball museum would be in separate buildings east of the Paseo on what is now the south end of Parade Park. A jazz teaching academy would be on the same site….
“Cleaver and other council members were sobered by estimated operating deficits of $1.92 million annually, including $883,125 for the jazz hall, $547,000 for the baseball museum and $855,000 for the archives. The academy is projected to have a $366,000 surplus.
“Cleaver and [the city manager] said they expected some city subsidy, but not $2 million annually….”
—The Kansas City Star, August 23, 1991
That took a nasty turn. Its resolution (well, sort of) then more turns in the next post, up later this week.