Union Station renovation nears 25 years and serves as testament to regional cooperation

Mar 21, 2023
| Posted in
Union Station with stone sign and spring flowers

It provides the backdrop for fireworks, holiday lights, World Series and Super Bowl celebrations, and, this month, it will be on the national stage as host to the NFL Draft. It’s hard to believe that 27 years ago, the building was inaccessible and in disrepair. 

In 1996, voters in Clay, Jackson and Platte counties in Missouri and Johnson County in Kansas approved a one-eighth cent bistate sales tax to restore and redevelop Union Station. This tax is thought to be the first of its kind in the United States. The temporary sales tax collected $118 million to restore Union Station and build Science City. The project total was $250 million and was completed on Nov. 10, 1999.

Bi-State Commission

Commonly referred to as the Bi-State Commission, the Metropolitan Culture District is the special district that was formed when voters approved the ballot measure in 1996. While Union Station is run by a nonprofit corporation, the commission works to ensure that future development and use of Union Station is consistent with the Union Station Master Plan. The plan guides efforts to protect the public’s interest in Union Station.

MARC has provided staff support to the commission since its formation and assists with meetings, records retention and financial matters, including an annual audit.