Kansas City spends $1.2 million from food, lodging tax to promote neighborhood events

(The Center Square) – The City Council of Kansas City is spending $1.2 million of its Neighborhood Trust Development Fund to help 131 nonprofit organizations promote neighborhood and cultural events.

The NTDF is funded by a tax of up to 7.5% on lodging and 2% on food at restaurants. At least 10% of the tax revenue must be diverted to the fund.

The funds go to nonprofit neighborhood organizations incorporated in Missouri and within the city limits. 

A 15-person committee reviews proposals and approves the funds. The organizations must spend the funds to promote cultural, social, ethnic, historic, educational and recreational activities and promote the city. Projects considered included festivals, rodeos, sports tournaments, concerts, movies in the park, home tours, exhibits, parades and races or runs.

The largest grant was $42,000 to the Kansas City Symphony for a downtown outdoor concert on Memorial Day. The event regularly draws 50,000 people but was canceled the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Boulevardia, a beer, food and music festival, received $33,800 and is returning after a two-year pause due to the pandemic.

“Boulevardia is thrilled to hear that we are receiving NTDF funding for 2022,” Boulevardia president and chief executive officer Keli O’Neill Wenzel said in a statement. “Boulevardia had to cancel in 2020 and could not take place in 2021, which was not easy for the economy of the organization or the economic impact the festival has on all the businesses and nonprofits that support the event. We appreciate NTDF recognizing the importance of this festival and its role in driving tourism to our city.”

The city’s financial report for February showed a budget of $1,588,000 for the NTFD, and $822,000 was spent during fiscal year 2021-22, which ended on April 30. The report showed that $296,000 was spent last year on a budget of $274,000.

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