Kevin Collison | KCUR

Kevin Collison

Kevin Collison, a freelance contributor to KCUR 89.3, writes about downtown Kansas City for his website CityScene KC.

Ways to Connect

Kevin Collison

An unvarnished account of the Vietnam War — from the Cold War domino theory that hooked the U.S. in the 1950s to a baby sweater left by a grieving mother at the Vietnam Memorial in 1990 — at the National World War I Museum doesn’t flinch from the brutality of the war and how it tore apart American society.

“This exhibit should help people think about what happened,” said Matt Naylor, CEO and president of the museum.

“It’s not a myopic view, but a balanced view that will examine the conflict from a variety of angles and will stimulate conversations around that.”

Kevin Collison

Académie Lafayette is opening an International Baccalaureate high school in Midtown, accomplishing a goal the French-immersion charter school program established when it started 20 years ago.

“This is the fulfillment of a dream, our vision,” said M. Elimane Mbengue, head of the school, which currently has 1,146 students enrolled in grades K-8 at three campuses. “Every year, our parents had been challenged finding a quality high school.”

Kevin Collison

A new master plan intended to guide the future development of Westport over the next 20 years proposes height restrictions along its primary streets, wider sidewalks and potential historic designations for nearby neighborhoods.

The Westport District Master Plan is in response to concerns two years ago over two large apartment proposals and follows 18 months of work by a steering committee representing key Westport constituencies.

Kevin Collison / CityScene KC

A stretch of buildings in the heart of the historic Troost commercial district would be transformed into offices, retail space and a museum, under a plan being pursued by development group that includes civic leader E. Frank Ellis.

Ellis, past chairman and founder of Swope Community Enterprises, along with Tim Bowman of Compass Resources LLC and Florida businessman Ovidiu Pop-Buia, want to renovate the historic Shankman and Michelson buildings at 3115-3131 Troost, and the Tycor building at 3105 Troost.

Hufft

The Kansas City Art Institute kicked off construction on Friday of a new liberal arts building, part of a $30 million campus building program that’s creating a new future for the 134 year-old school.

“This is a pivotal moment in our college’s history,” said Tony Jones, the Nerman Family President of KCAI. “This building will be transformative for our programs.

“It will be the heartbeat of the campus because everyone will be working here.”

Kevin Collison

Downtown Kansas City lost one of its most enthusiastic champions when Jared Miller was struck and killed by a semi-truck late Saturday morning while crossing the North Loop freeway from the River Market.

The eastbound trucker didn’t see the pedestrian until it was too late to avoid striking him, according to Kansas City Police. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

In a Facebook post Sunday, his wife Julie Miller said her 34-year-old husband was trying to cross the road after his run when he was hit.

HDR

A planned extension of Kansas City's streetcar line from downtown to the University of Missouri-Kansas City failed to make it into the new federal budget proposal, a setback streetcar officials hope to overcome next year.

The Federal Transit Administration's budget recommendation for the 2020 fiscal year did not include $151.6 million being sought by the Kansas City Streetcar Authority to help fund approximately half the cost of the $316.6 million project.

Poetic Kinetic

Union Station is set to add a shape-shifting display to the downtown skyline this summer with a huge floating sculpture described as jaw-dropping by one observer who knows a bit about art.

"When you see this sculpture fly, you’ll believe in magic," said Tony Jones, the president of the Kansas City Art Institute, who saw a similar work by the artist in downtown Los Angeles.

courtesy HDR

Washington transit officials have rated the Kansas City Streetcar Authority’s $151.6 million federal funding application “medium high,” a vital step toward building the planned extension from downtown to UMKC.

BNIM Architecture

An ambitious idea to spend at least $90 million building a high-tech block between Kansas City's East Crossroads neighborhood and the 18th and Vine District took its first concrete step when backers of the proposed Keystone Innovation District signed a predevelopment agreement in recent weeks.

A development entity established by J.E. Dunn Construction reached the agreement with the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, which owns the block targeted for the proposed education, research and entrepreneurial center.

Kevin Collison

The Kansas City streetcar rolled out of 2018 with ridership up 2.6 percent over the previous year and looking for signals early in the new year about its planned expansions to the riverfront and UMKC.

The downtown streetcar attracted 2,114,886 rides last year compared to 2,060,327 in 2017. Overall, more than 5.5 million people have ridden the line since it opened in May 2016.

“The continued growth in ridership is what we hoped,” said Executive Director Tom Gerend. “It’s a reflection of all the activity downtown with new commercial and residential development.”

KC Streetcar Authority

A multimodal plan to extend the streetcar line to the riverfront, including a new concept to build a separate bicycle and pedestrian bridge next to the Grand Boulevard viaduct, continues to roll, but without help from Washington.

Kevin Collison / CityScene KC

A plan to demolish a prominent church on the Country Club Plaza and replace it with a 12-story, mixed-use project is unfolding as the latest historic preservation battle over the soul of the venerable district.

Legacy Development wants to redevelop the current site of the Seventh Church of Christ, Scientist at the northwest corner of 47th and Pennsylvania, according to a proposal submitted recently to the City Plan Commission.

Kevin Collison / CityScene KC

Folk Alliance International dedicated a new home in the Crossroads Arts District Thursday and the music organization was welcomed by Mayor Sly James for its contribution to Kansas City’s cultural scene.

“We appreciate the rich artistic and cultural history of this city,” the mayor said. “One of the great things to happen is the Folk Alliance.”

Folk Alliance International relocated to Kansas City from Memphis in 2013. 

Kevin Collison / CityScene KC

Dana Gibson, who along with Mel Mallin began developing residential projects in the River Market in 1984, has sold his holdings, the final chapter in a downtown revival story that began in the rubble of what was once known as the River Quay.

Gibson recalled the area was a wasteland when they purchased and redeveloped what was to become the Artspace building at 201 Wyandotte.

“At that point, there were maybe 20 people who lived in the River Market,” he said. “They were wacky artists living in mostly abandoned buildings. After River Quay, everybody had quit coming.”

National WW I Museum and Memorial

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row…

—from “In Flanders Fields,” written by Lt. Col. John McCrae in 1915 to honor a fallen comrade.

More than 5,000 poppies, the symbol of the fallen soldiers of World War I, will illuminate Kansas City's Liberty Memorial beginning on Nov. 2. The display marks the centennial of Armistice Day, the Nov. 11 truce that ended four years of horrific slaughter in Europe.

Kevin Collison / CityScene KC

The bland exterior of the new Crossroads Hotel at 2101 Central may fool you, but once inside the historic brick shell you’ll discover and enjoy a post-industrial chic vibe that’s right out of New York’s famed SoHo District.

CitySceneKC / EJ Holtze Corp.

A $63 million boutique hotel that backers say would be the most luxurious in the metro is being proposed across Wyandotte Street from the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

Kevin Collison / CityScene KC

The seven-year quest to bring the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance to downtown Kansas City ended abruptly Tuesday when university officials issued a statement rejecting any downtown location.

Instead, UMKC will consider sites either on or within a 2.5-mile radius of the Volker campus in the next round of considering proposals, according to a letter from UMKC Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal.

Brian Rice

This weekend’s Kansas City Irish Fest, which kicks off Friday at Crown Center when The Maguire Brothers take the stage at 5 p.m., marks the end of an era in local music history.

One of the region’s most popular musical groups of any genre, The Elders, will take the stage for the last time after performing for 16 consecutive years at the annual Labor Day weekend festival. 

The musicians' ages have finally caught up with the name of their band. They've been on a farewell tour throughout 2018, and now it’s time for them to say good-bye to a festival that has done so much to fuel their success.

Kevin Collison / CityScene KC

The irony of Bob Jones Shoes making it through the tough times only to close its doors now that downtown Kansas City is coming back isn’t lost on Rocky Horowitz.

“We seen downtown go from bad to good to really good,” he said.

Kevin Collison / CityScene KC

Right now, two of the city’s oldest buildings near the 18th and Vine Jazz District look the part: limestone ruins straight out of Medieval Europe.

But Jason Parson, Tim Duggan and Shomari Benton have big plans for redeveloping the former City Water and Street Department buildings at 2000 Vine. Both were built in 1866, making them more than 150 years old, and have been empty since 1994.

“They were the first two public works buildings in Kansas City history,” Duggan said. “These shells were built like tanks.”

Kevin Collison / CityScene KC

If anybody embraces the concept of Kismet, it’s David Ford and Adam Jones, two of Kansas City’s most free-spirited originals.

They have combined to find a new home for YJ’s Snack Bar in the former Sylvia’s Deli space at 1746 Washington, just a few blocks west of the old YJ’s location at 128 W. 18th.

“It was incredibly perfect timing,” Jones said. “It was the coolest home run we could ever hit. It all came together in about five seconds.”

3D Development

A $95 million redevelopment plan for the former Kansas City Star property that includes renovating the historic structure and building a boutique grocery store and marketplace above a 500-space underground garage has cleared its first hurdles at City Hall.

The full Kansas City Council on Thursday approved an ambitious plan from developer Vincent Bryant, who told a council committee Wednesday morning that he wanted to make the former Star campus the economic center of the Crossroads area.

Pedersen Development

A Colorado developer is planning a $37 million Hyatt House Hotel on a vacant lot at Ninth and Broadway, and in a major departure, the project would be built without parking.

Scott Pedersen of Boulder-based Pedersen Development said guests staying at the proposed 13-story, 153-room hotel would be served with valet parking.

The reason?

“Kansas City parking garage utilization runs at 56 percent occupancy at noon and drops to 26 percent at 5 p.m. Overnight, it’s 13 percent,” Pedersen said.

Kevin Collison

Construction is expected to begin soon on the $68 million West Bottoms Flats apartment development, the first major renovation project in the downtown warehouse district that fueled Kansas City’s economic growth in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Kevin Collison

The long-vacant Wheatley-Provident Hospital, an important landmark in the Kansas City African-American community, has been purchased by a development group with plans to renovate it as offices.

More than a century of newspaper history ends today when The Kansas City Star staff moves from its historic quarters at 1729 Grand into new space in the Press Pavilion across McGee Street.

Burns and McDonnell

Copaken Brooks is proposing a 14-story apartment tower on the southwest corner of 18th and Walnut, a striking addition to the skyline that would replace a crumbling Crossroads parking lot with 132 residences.

The $40- to $50 million project would be the second residential tower developed by the firm in the Crossroads Arts District. The other is the 12-story ARTerra project going up at 2100 Wyandotte.

It’s also a half-block north of the firm’s Corrigan Station office development at 19th and Walnut.

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