Home in the city of Kansas City, Missouri
The Kansas City Star
The city Kansas City, Missouri is a great place to live. I do not sell real estate but I own a small chunk downtown. My vested interests are my own as are yours. I left England in 2008 and settled in the Crossroads District and recently I purchased my own space on 8th Street just west of Broadway next door to the under-dismantlement Folgers Plant. Cranes download some of the innards of that coffee factory today.
Neighbors and businesses, including me, support a streetcar system. I like riding the MAX bus. Most days, I walk about for my daily forage of living stuff and life-support errands. Life downtown fits me now at age 58. My partner loves it here too.
The massive building across the street is empty; possibly under contract to develop living spaces but it shows no activity. The Folgers plant could be a great set of spaces to live in time. When I walk I notice progress and activity but also pay attention to open spaces for lease. Things are happening while it seems to me more places appear dormant.
When I drive downtown, I’m now conscious of the fact that the majority of drivers are searching for parking, driving with hesitation. Patience. Two blocks south I see people visiting and staying in the city for conventions, events, fun stuff, and weddings. Lots of not-so-fun stuff around too. I meet many homeless people, mostly men. Visit the 10th and Main bus circle to take a pulse-check on the city’s homeless population.
My daughter’s family loves coming to the city. My son works here. They live in Olathe because the schools there are really nice. They have a big doggie named Bruce who loves his backyard. My building is full of people and dogs. We have two cats who have made a lifestyle adjustment from being indoor/outdoor explorers to loft cats who watch the world intently from our big windows.
There is no one center-of-gravity to a city. One stabilizer or building block is schools. Ours are unattractive to the younger people with children. It is what it is now – a city that cannot be more than it is due to the education desert in Kansas City, Missouri. This is not a “university” city either to any significant scale. Kansas City has one great thing of everything and perhaps that’s because of our limited space and resources.
What people call downtown Kansas City Missouri is a sausage shaped swath of geography bordered on the north by the river, east by Broadway, west by Troost and south by the Plaza. There are ample pockets of what I call “the interesting edge” like the West Bottoms and the great area from Summit south to Southwest Boulevard. I really like Southwest Boulevard and that corridor on 18th/19th to Vine. I find the Power & Light District potentially vibrant and I walk there to gather groceries. But as a former English pub owner, I find too many beer spouts and spirit containers there per square foot. The area aches for more retail and fewer cocktails.
If you’re getting on in years, living downtown is an option worth your consideration.
I’m mindful that the city of Kansas City Missouri is larger than the sausage-shaped bubble of the parts I walk, ride, and infrequently drive. People from here remind me of that often and teach me a great deal about the depth and breadth of the city. I have a lot to learn about Kansas City and I now happily call it home.