Joe Reardon's big disappointment
The Kansas City Star
People are writing all kinds of well-deserved positive words today about Unified Government Mayor Joe Reardon, who announced he won’t run for a third term in 2013.
Here’s colleague Barb Shelly’s take, for example.
But don’t let this fact get lost in all the hype over another politician leaving office:
People still aren’t moving in droves to Kansas City, Kan., even though it has gained Sporting KC, Cerner, Hollywood Casino and Google Fiber under Reardon’s watch.
Going back further, the city has actually lost population even after the 1997 decision by Mayor Carol Marinovich - another very successful mayor - to bring the whole Speedway development to the city.
The 1990 census showed KCK with 151,112 people.
The 2000 census showed KCK had 146,866 people.
The Census Bureau’s population estimate for July of 2005 - the year Reardon won his first term - was 142,178.
The 2010 census showed KCK with 146,070 people - or a decline of about 800 in 10 years.
Finally, the latest available estimate for 2011 is 146,453 people.
The most positive part for Reardon is that, overall, the 2011 figures would be almost 4,300 more people than in 2005, or a 3 percent increase. However, those are just estimates, not the official census figures released every decade.
Still, that’s encouraging for KCK. The figures indicate the city might have turned the corner and is slowly adding people.
That something Reardon and other city officials have always said would happen because of the huge public subsidies given to lure private development to town.
It’s just disappointing that the numbers, at least so far, aren’t bigger.
It’s also understandable, to a large degree, given the continued problems of the Kansas City, Kan., School District (as a valued reader noted). Many parents still will be staying in or moving to Johnson County or north of the river in Kansas City, Mo., so their children can attend better-quality schools.
The KCK population might head even higher when Cerner employees start working at their Speedway offices later this year.
If so, one of Reardon’s disappointments will turn into a long-term positives for KCK.