Belton | KCUR

Belton

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

The Latino community in Belton, Missouri, once a military and farming community, is growing.

Today, almost 10 percent of Belton’s 24,000 residents are Latino, with that number rising to about 18 percent in the Belton School District. And they have mixed reports about how included they feel in the community. Some believe non-Latinos are uncomfortable with demographic changes.

As a fairly quiet Kansas City suburb, Belton often flies under the radar. But, with a growing Latino population and a vibrant commercial center, Belton residents are defining their community on their terms. In this hourlong segment, we collaborate with KCUR's community engagement project Here to Listen to talk about Belton's military history, its burgeoning local economy, and its changing demographics.

Samuel King / KCUR 89.3

Twenty years ago, the stretch of Belton along U.S. Highway 71, now Interstate 49, looked a lot different than it does now. Only a few major retailers had set up shop in the city, with most bypassing Belton. That forced people who lived in the city to leave the county or even the state to shop at most big box or other stores.

Courtesy of Chris Stewart

The skies across metropolitan Kansas City roared with the flight acrobatics of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and the Navy’s Blue Angels at the annual air shows at Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base between Grandview and Belton, Missouri.

The sonic spectacles could draw more than a half a million people from around the region.

The base closed 25 years ago this year. But many of the enlistees and officers stayed in the Belton area, investing the town with an identity as a community of miltary retirees.

KCUR spoke to a group of the retirees at Belton's Carnegie Village Senior Living Community about their time on base.

An interview with the political correspondent at NPR. How did her conservative Christian background and growing up in KC help her connect with people on the campaign trail?

Plus, Question Quest looks into a mysterious octagon in Belton.

Guest:

In this episode, Suzanne digs into the sacred geometry and mysterious happenings surrounding a giant octagon in Belton, Missouri.