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Bistate Commission

Bistate Commissioners

State of Kansas
Gubernatorial Appointee
David Lindstrom
State of Missouri
Gubernatorial Appointee
Marianne Kilro
Clay County, Mo.
Luann Ridgeway, County Commission 
Jackson County, Mo.
Dan Tarwater, County Legislature
Johnson County, Kan.
Michael Ashcraft, County Commission
Platte County, Mo.
Ron Schieber, Presiding County Commissioner
Blue Springs, Mo. 
Chris Lievsay, City Council, 2012–
Independence, Mo.
Eileen Weir, Mayor
Kansas City, Mo.
Katheryn Shields, City Council
Lee’s Summit, Mo.
Rob Binny, Mayor Pro Tem
Olathe, Kan.
Marge Vogt, City Council
Overland Park, Kan.
Curt Skoog, City Council
Shawnee, Kan. 
Dan Pflumm, City Council

2017 Officers

Chair: Curt Skoog, City Council, Overland Park, Kan.

Union Station and Downtown KC

What is the Bistate Commission?

Commonly referred to as the Bistate Commission, the Metropolitan Culture District is a special district authorized in 1996 by a joint compact between the states of Kansas and Missouri. The governing bodies in five metro area counties authorized placing the question of forming the district on the ballot. Voters in Platte, Clay and Jackson counties in Missouri and Johnson County in Kansas approved the measure forming the district.

The proposal to form the current district specified that a retail sales tax of 1/8 of one cent would be collected from within the district until $118 million had been received. The proceeds of the tax were limited in use to renovate Union Station and to construct Science City in Union Station. From April 1, 1997, to March 31, 2002, $121,393,565 was collected. The tax expired in the first quarter of 2002.

The commission is composed of elected and appointed public officials representing Johnson, Jackson, Clay and Platte counties, the city councils of the five area cities in those counties with more than 50,000 residents, and the state arts and humanities councils, through gubernatorial appointment.

The current commission is composed of elected and appointed public officials representing Johnson, Jackson, Clay and Platte counties, the city councils of the five area cities in those counties with more than 50,000 residents, and the state arts and humanities councils, through appointments made by the governor of each state.

Why is there a commission?

Ownership of Union Station was conveyed to a nonprofit corporation — Union Station, Kansas City, Inc. USKC is responsible for operating and maintaining Union Station as a cultural facility. The Bistate Commission works to ensure that future development and/or uses of Union Station and the immediate area are consistent with the Union Station Master Plan that was adopted when voters approved the sales tax. The plan guides efforts to protect the public’s interests in Union Station.

Projects Completed Nov. 30, 1999–Dec. 31, 2014

The Commission contributed $117,301,000 toward the renovation of Union Station according to approved plans. Additional capital improvement projects selected by the commission are based on the following considerations:

  • The impact of the project on the current and future revenues of USKC that are devoted to the maintenance or improvement of Union Station and/or Science City.
  • The popular or cultural appeal of the project to the citizens of the Bi-State District and the general public.
  • Whether such project addresses any unmet goal or objective of the prior renovation of Union Station or construction of Science City.
  • Whether the project enhances the long-term utility and viability of Union Station and/or Science City.

Future Bistate Commission Projects

The Metropolitan Culture District exists to realize the shared desires of Kansas and Missouri to serve the best interests of their citizens, by improving and enhancing access to cultural activities. The historic Kansas and Missouri Metropolitan Culture District Compact represents the first time that two states have cooperatively levied a tax to benefit citizens. Union Station was an excellent first project for this joint effort because of its significance to citizens, as evidenced by voter approval in four of the region’s counties.

The district’s work is limited to cultural activities, which includes those intended to enhance the aesthetic, artistic, historic, intellectual or social development of the general public. “Cultural organizations” include nonprofit and tax-exempt social, civic or community organizations and associations dedicated to the development, provision, cooperation, supervision, promotion or support of cultural activities in which members of the public may engage or participate. “Cultural facilities” include those operated or used for sports or participation or engagement in cultural activities by members of the general public.

Future projects may be chosen with support through citizen petition or a county’s determination that participation will benefit its citizens. Upon adoption of a county commission’s support resolution for the project, or acceptance of citizen petitions, the question would be put on the ballot in primary, general or special elections. Counties supporting future projects must include Johnson County, Kan., and Jackson County, Mo. Contiguous counties in Kansas and Missouri and those within 60 miles of Johnson and Jackson counties are also eligible.

For more information, contact Marlene Nagel, Bistate Administrator, Kansas and Missouri Metropolitan Culture District, 600 Broadway, Suite 200, Kansas City, MO 64105, 816/701-8218.

Download the 2014-2015 Bistate Commission Annual Report»