Yesterday I wrote about KCP&L's agreement to create a task force that would consider solutions to the growing power needs of the city. This is going to be a tough task, as they have a fairly narrow window of where they can put substation, and not too many neighborhoods are going to be any more willing than Hyde Park/Center City/Squire Park to take it. So what are the options?
First, let's look at the criteria set forth by KCP&L:
1) Does site provide efficient and reliable service to customers to meet increasing demand?
2) Is the site adequately sized to fit a substation?
3) Is the property near Troost to reduce the impact of the substation and transmission on residential areas?
4) Does the site provide access to the Transmission line (that runs along Troost) and access to city roads?
5) Does the property provide an adequate buffer zone for neighbors?
6) Is the property owner willing to sell the site?
Along with that, I'd like to offer two more criteria they should be considering:
7) Is the property far enough away from Children's organizations (Operation Breakthrough) in case there are health concerns?
8) Does the site have a negative affect on pedestrian routes that would connect residents to retail (or future retail) areas?
The 32nd Terrace and Troost site fails at #5, but fails miserably at #8. My biggest complaint about the current location choice is that it basically creates a huge dead zone between Hyde Park (the most developed neighborhood along this area of Troost) and the 31st and Troost area, which is the most likley major retail area in the short term along Troost. Separating the two with a substation will likely kill the chance of retail opening along that stretch in the short term.
So given these criteria, I offer 5 options for KCP&L:
20th and Cherry St -- this is approximately two blocks from their current substation, so close to where the main transmission lines. This area is bordered by the railroad tracks to the South, and the Holmes and McGee Viaducts to the East and West. There is no residential, no retail, and no foot traffic in this area (or will be in the forseeable future) This area has almost 4 whole blocks of surface parking -- much of which I believe serves Children's Mercy Hospital. Working with Children's Mercy to use a good portion of their surface parking for a substation, while building a parking garage over another part of it, would actually be an improvement to this area.
19th St and 71 Highway -- There is a large patch of empty ground that has some parking and some empty lawn space that is north of 19th Street, and between Goodwill Industries and 71 Highway. Across the Street is Crescent Electrical Supply Co...so a lot of manufacturing, no residential, no retail, 1 block off Troost.
East side of Troost, North of 24th Street -- When 71 Highway was built between the Plaza and downtown, there was a lot of space that was leveled to make room for it. Since the highway has been completed, these areas have yet to infill up next to the highway. The entire East side of Troost, North of 24th Street, is completely abandoned, is bordered by 71 Highway to the North and East. The 2400 block of Troost is also pretty much abandoned at this point. There is no pedestrian at this point because the highway serves as a complete dividing line in this area. The only business that would be affected would be Bogdon Candy, which I believe is a factory as best I can tell.
47th and Troost - -This is right next to their current Southern Substation that serves the area, but the KCMO recycling center borders the current substation to the North. Building on the current Recycling center lot would allow them to expand the needs from this location -- that again has no retail, no residential, and no foot traffic. The recylcing center could then be moved to another location and would be more welcomed because it is neither as big or as permanent, as a substation would be.
Even if none of these locations work, there are several others along Troost (Particularly North of 27th Street) that match these criteria better than the 32nd Terrace Location. If one of these areas that is closer to residential/retail has to be used, KCP&L could make this more palatable for the those that are affected. KCP&L gives a lot of money that benefits the community, and one thing they could do is help dedicate some money to help with the revitalization (much of it already taking place) along Troost near their new substation. This would go a long way in helping the affected neighborhoods (whichever those end up being) see some benefit to them of having the substation in their area.
KCP&L has no doubt handled this poorly to this point....by having an offer out on buying land before the neighborhood was even notified. They have a good opportunity to rethink the location, and make it right with the existing neighborhoods...which is what I hope they intend to do.
Tomorrow, what the city can do to help KCP&L, and us.