Yes, some people have long thought of the underused city-owned facility as the white elephant of the West Bottoms. And the coming of the
But now a tug of war is underway to determine whether the wobbling elephant can or should be revived.
At one end of the rope is a private developer, who wants to buy and redeploy the structure, plus historic preservationists who cherish Kemper's significance as a pioneering work of modern architecture and engineering.
On the other side are the namesake Kemper banking family and leaders of the
The city, which owns and maintains the facility, is in the middle, and apparently leaning toward demolition.
Rosin prepared the nomination on behalf of
Rosin argues that the building, designed by architect
"It's throwing good money after bad," he told me on Friday.
Kemper said he'd prefer to remember the great legacy of the arena, which largely was a gift to the city from his family, than to imagine what would become of the building if it were to be repurposed.
The American Royal, which has a long-term lease, has proposed a
On Thursday Mayor Sly James appeared to throw his support toward the Royal plan.
"(M)y goal," James said in a statement, "is to keep the American Royal at its home, honor our contractual agreements, and bring more activity to the West Bottoms. It is my thought that all of this can be done by working collaboratively with the American Royal, and any other willing participants, to create a public-private partnership in bringing about a new multipurpose facility that can serve many of the interests being discussed."
There was no sentiment in the mayor's statement about the loss of a major architectural landmark. Time is running out for civic voices and/or investors to ensure that all possibilities have been explored to keep the elephant alive.
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