A new online tool gives Jackson County and the Kansas City region a "leg up" in promoting economic development, stressed County Executive Mike Sanders during a news conference held March 16 at the Local Investment Commission offices in Kansas City. The new mapping program, available on the county's Economic Development website, provides "the easy access to information," he noted, that entrepreneurs want when considering where to invest. "With a click of the mouse, you can get information about all of Jackson County, about all of Kansas City --information you can't virtually get anywhere else," explained Sanders. "You can easily put all this information together, whether it's on crime data, traffic data, demographics or zoning. As we all know, better information yields better results."
No Additional Costs
Collaboration between Jackson County and the City of Kansas City made successfully launching the site possible. The site was created entirely in-house, through the Jackson County Economic Development Department. County Senior Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialist Amber Reynolds built the application.
Kansas City Mayor Pro Tem Cindy Circo called the project an example of how the city and county are working together to "more efficiently serve citizens."
When the county first explored creating an online tool that would results in 24/7 access to a wide range of information, Sanders noted that "outside contractors" were anticipating charging as much as $300,000, if not more.
"The city has been a phenomenal partners in this process," said Sanders. "Governments working together can get a project like this done and at no additional cost to taxpayers."
Since being launched last summer, the website has attracted hits from 42 states and 10 different countries. Sanders pointed out that business executives from around the country and the globe are showing an interest in collecting development data about the Greater Kansas City region.
But the site can be utilized for more than just economic development. Kansas City Councilman Scott Wagner demonstrated how the site's ability to incorporate crime statistics or other data on a map can help policy makers finalize decisions--such as the city's recent choice to build a new police patrol station at 27th and Prospect. He also showed how anyone can pull up in-depth reports that include a property's ownership details, sales history, recent crime reports, tax information, infrastructure descriptions and more.
"It helps you learn what is going on at a property and around that property," he said. "It's a very impressive tool that I think will not only lead us into more economic development, but will hopefully help us elevate the quality of life in our neighborhoods as well."
The news conference was part of the county and city's ongoing efforts to raise awareness about the new web application. Sanders and Wagner presented the site to Jackson County Legislators during their January 9 meeting. County Legislators Theresa Garza Ruiz (1st District At-Large) and Crystal Williams (2nd District At-Large) also attended the March 16 news conference.