Kansas City may be keeping plans for a potential Super Bowl victory parade tightly under wraps, but that's not stopping downtown businesses from preparing for a historically large gathering downtown next week.
Multiple businesses and organizations with offices downtown told KCUR they have been given word to prepare for a parade Wednesday, February 5, if the Chiefs win Super Bowl LIV on Sunday.
Messenger Coffee on Grand Boulevard has decided to close on that day if there is a parade. It will host a private party and sell coffee from its freight elevator in the alley by its building.
Manager Sarah Hockla says she just doesn’t have enough space to be open to the public if hundreds of thousands of people flood the thoroughfare outside.
“We just honestly couldn’t handle that sort of crowd,” said Hockla. “We’re right on the corner of 16th and Grand so we feel it will be a hotspot.”
The last time Kansas Citians saw such a massive event was in 2015, when a crowd that official estimates said reached 800,000, turned out for the Royals World Series parade.
(KCUR did a post-parade analysis that brought into question the accuracy of those estimates.)
Officials with the Kansas City Sports Commission say if there is a Super Bowl parade this year, they are expecting an even bigger turnout.
The Commission’s spokeswoman, Katherine Fox, told KCUR's Up To Date program that the parade will be similar but not identical to the 2015 celebration.
“I think we learned a lot from the Royals parade,” said Fox. “We've been working very closely with the city and fire and police and EMT, just to make sure that if we do see the crowds that we're expecting that we have some protocols in place to handle that.”
One of these protocols was opening a discussion with all stakeholders on what kind of safety precautions should be taken. Offiicals at Children's Mercy Hospital near Union Station, where a parade would likely end, says they’ve been preparing since the Chiefs won the AFC Championship two weeks ago.
“We've had a group of people across the entire hospital meeting every single day and really thinking through all the things that we needed to be doing,” said Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer Jodi Coombs.
“We have a really great plan and we have all the supplies that we need to give the care that we give today, just like we will on Wednesday.”
One of their main concerns is how to help families with appointments or surgeries navigate through the traffic. The hospital says they’ve worked to rearrange surgery schedules and clinic visits so no one is stuck in the crowds Wednesday.
They have also made plans for patients and their families to be able to watch the parade.
The Chiefs face off against the San Francisco 49ers at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on Sunday. Details of a victory parade are expected to be unveiled Sunday night after the game.
Jodi Fortino is a newsroom intern at KCUR.