Our Tell KCUR question was straightforward: What question would you like us to answer in 2016? Your responses were insightful, challenging and sometimes surprising.
But bottom line, KCUR 89.3 has a lot of work to do.
We’re a news organization, so it’s heartening to be asked to pay close attention to significant stories such as the airport’s future, the streetcar’s rollout and development intricacies regarding a convention hotel and the Crossroads district. It’s helpful when our audience reminds us of the importance of these issues – and our obligation to ask the toughest questions.
Still, the majority of your questions focused on community. Here’s some of what we’ve been tasked with:
- KC maintains 12,000 acres of parks – way more than say the Chicago Park District manages 8,100 acres. How did that happen? What are the consequences of that? Do we end up spending most of our budget mowing all of that acreage? (These questions came from Linda Oakleaf, who is new to Kansas City and has a doctorate in parks, recreation and tourism. You can bet we’ll be reaching out to Linda.)
- What can KC do to grow up? Meaning more public transit, more walkable neighborhoods, fewer murders, and better school outcomes?
- What can be done to revitalize areas in the 3rd and 5th district? Because without a strong urban core, Kansas City could potentially become like St. Louis or Detroit.
- What can be done to make 18th and Vine a success?
- What makes KC different than other Midwestern cities?
- I think we need to continue talking about the lack of integration in KC but let's hear about how it is changing for the better (if it is). I always prefer a strength based conversation.
- Do Kansas Citians feel connected, a sense of community? Are community centers helping that sense? Do we have good community centers?
- How can we improve public schools and bridge the racial gap in the KC metro area?
- Recycling success stories. I believe the glass is processed locally and used locally. Are any other materials used locally?
- Who have been our favorite mayors and what have they done for us?
- Why isn't Kansas approving any more licenses for day and residential services for the disabled?
- What are the plans to increase development in the Historic Northeast area of KC and not just along Gladstone Blvd?
- What agencies are helping folks live in their community as they age?
We were particularly drawn to a plea from Chris Grenz, of Shawnee, Kansas, who wants to know more about how the metro area can better work together to publicly finance our community.
Here’s how he put it: “Jackson County residents gripe about JoCo snobs who use their stadiums without helping to pay. JoCo residents who work in KCMO pay 1% of their income to KCMO — taxation without representation. While there once was limited success with a bi-state tax, that now seems impossible. WHY? How can we tackle big issues like public transportation, a new airport, and amenities when we seem more interested in poaching businesses across the invisible state line rather than working together as one community!?”
This concern was a big part of our Beyond Our Borders series, and it’s an ongoing coverage consideration. We will continually consider how to explore these inter-related issues.
Finally, we were gratified that some people focused on infrastructure. For example, Mary Guntert of DeSoto, Kansas, asked about upcoming highway projects and rail improvements. We’re gratified because it seems like something we easily forget.
Mary also offered this observation: “I think you should wear out issues, makes you appreciate the new ones more!”
We'll take that to heart.
In the meantime, we're still (and always) open to questions. So if you have a few minutes, please take some time to inform our reporting by filling out this short form.
Donna Vestal is director of content strategy for KCUR 89.3. You can reach her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.