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development

Sam Zeff / KCUR

Opposition is growing to the proposed redevelopment of an old hospital in south Kansas City that could be made into a detention center to house immigrant children.

As of Thursday, opponents had gathered more than 4,800 signatures in an online petition opposing the development plan. It will be presented to members of the City Plan Commission at the March 17 meeting.

Segment 1: What are the big housing and development stories in Kansas City right now?

The guiding question for KCUR's reporters headed into 2020 is: Where will we see cranes? This discussion provides context for an installment of our newsroom's State of Kansas City 2020 series.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

The KCUR news staff presents the State of Kansas City series as a look ahead to 2020 on topics of importance to the region. Find the State of Kansas City report on other topics in the series as they are published each weekday, Jan. 6–Jan. 20. Follow coverage on these topics at KCUR.org and on 89.3 FM throughout the year.

Buzz about new housing and development in the metro has focused on downtown Kansas City, Missouri. The past two decades saw former warehouses and old buildings converted to lofts at lightning speed.

They're both from Kansas City's East Side, but the couple met at a conference in Cincinnati. Ever since they've been dreaming of making things happen for their community. Their plans for a new neighborhood on a vacant lot are so ambitious that just getting a shovel in the ground to start building would be an achievement of national significance.

  • Ebony Edwards, CEO, Movement KC
  • Daniel Edwards, architect, Movement KC

Kyle Palmer / KCUR 89.3

For Willie Vader, the Johnson County Courthouse can't be demolished soon enough. 

"That is the single biggest thing that could help downtown Olathe, what goes in there after that building comes down," Vader said. 

He owns Vader's Bar and Deli on Cherry Street, just east of the courthouse. The courthouse is nearly 70 years old and will be replaced by a bigger, more up-to-date one that's currently being built a block north. The new courthouse is expected to open in early 2021, and the plan is to tear the old one down shortly after. 

Segment 1: The new structures and businesses making news in Downtown Kansas City.

Some of the more noteworthy announcements in recent downtown development projects include the United States Department of Agriculture relocation and Waddell & Reed's move from Overland Park. We learn about these and other projects, and discuss the use of property tax abatements to attract new growth.

Segment 1: Johnson County activists say there are signs to look for when detecting illicit sex trafficking businesses.

The business of sex trafficking often operates through a powerful underground network. This is why an Overland Park couple believies it's so hard to stop the practice. Mike and Pam Jensen pointed to one contributing factor, treating women who are trafficked as criminals rather than victims. They also outlined signs of illicit massage parlors which are well known as sources of human trafficking.

Segment 1: A KU researcher's studies provide context for news from the Amazon.

As global leaders gather for a climate change summit, a KU researcher shares new satellite-based data on the impact of deforestation in the Amazon, with particular insights into where this year's fire (which is still raging) fits in, both environmentally and politically. 

Segment 1: Artists are reviving the shopping mall experience.

There's a new trend in malls. Whereas the spaces artists were transforming a couple decades back tended to be abandoned warehouses in industrial parts of town, now the suburban shopping mall's providing that canvas. 

  • Dave Claflin, marketing consultant for area shopping malls

Segment 2: Queer Eye's Antoni Porowski is in town with a cookbook.

Segment 1: The Gay Softball World Series comes to Kansas City.

As the Gay Softball World Series gets under way here in town, the Kansas City Royals host their first ever official Pide Night at the K. 

  • Scott Switzer, Executive Director, Gay Softball World Series 2019
  • Rick Leavitt, founder of a gay softball team and league in Florida 25 years ago, now a Kansas Citian

Segment 2: First Friday has lost its festival license. Now what?

Kyle Palmer / KCUR 89.3

Port KC is one of Kansas City’s most powerful economic development agencies, often handing out lucrative tax breaks, but some critics say it has too much clout and reforms are needed to give elected leaders more oversight.

Segment 1: What's up in northeast Johnson County?

As part of our continuing conversations with community newspaper editors, here's some inside perspective on the news in the Shawnee Mission Post. This episode's focus: contested municipal elections in Overland Park and Shawnee, and non-discrimination ordinances in several cities countywide.

Segment 2: The story of a new play inspired by the 30 Americans exhibit.

Seg. 1: Housing Study | Seg. 2: Sign Language

Jun 27, 2019

Segment 1: National perspective on affordable housing in Kansas City.

As new households form, additional housing stock isn't keeping pace, studies show. Meanwhile, rent is rising faster than inflation. It's a nationwide problem, but people are really feeling it in Kansas City.

  • Chris Herbert, managing director, Harvard Joint Centers For Housing Studies

Segment 2: American Sign Language finally counts as a major at the University of Kansas. 

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

The night of his high school graduation, Daniel Edwards and his friends looked out at Kansas City from a fourth-floor window at Lincoln College Preparatory Academy on 21st and Woodland. They could see vacant property in every direction, and as they prepared to head off into the world, they joked about coming back as grown-ups to buy an empty block and start their own neighborhood.

That's basically what Edwards and his wife Ebony are doing right now.

Portrait Session: Ebony And Daniel Edwards

Jun 21, 2019

They're both from Kansas City's East Side, but the couple met at a conference in Cincinnati, and they've been dreaming of making things happen for their community ever since. Their plans for a new neighborhood on a vacant lot are so ambitious that just getting a shovel in the ground to start building would be an achievement of national significance. Hear why.

  • Ebony Edwards, CEO, Movement KC
  • Daniel Edwards, architect, Movement KC

Segment 1: A New York Times reporter sees votes for Quinton Lucas as votes for neighborhoods.

The weekend before Kansas City's mayoral election, a story appeared in the New York Times suggesting that this election came down to a choice: continued emphasis on downtown, or a shift toward prioritizing neighborhoods struggling in downtown's shadow. The author joins us to reflect on the outcome.

NorthPoint Development

The highway interchange at I-70 and the Turner Diagonal in Kansas City, Kansas, will soon get a new look that city officials say is decades overdue.

The full commission of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, unanimously approved a development agreement for a $155 million redevelopment project for the area last week, which will involve a redesign of the heavily trafficked intersection.

File photos

The struggle is real for many Kansas City, Missouri, residents deciding who to vote for in the mayoral election on Tuesday, June 18. 

Candidates Jolie Justus and Quinton Lucas are both current city council members with similar voting records. Both are Democrats and attorneys at notable law firms.

Both say the biggest issues facing the city are crime, affordable housing and equitable development.

But while the two agree on many things, there are key differences, including how to solve the city’s most pressing issues.

Prairie Fire Development Group

New apartments and townhomes are coming to downtown Kansas City, Kansas, next summer.

The $11 million project from the Prairie Fire Development Group and Community Housing of Wyandotte County will bring about 50 units, ranging in price from $500 a month to $1,100 a month, to Washington Boulevard near the 7th Street Trafficway. 

Robert Baynham has been the pastor at the nearby Metropolitan Baptist Church for 37 years. He said the Boulevard Lofts will be the first new housing development he's seen in downtown or northeast Kansas City, Kansas.

Seg. 1: Micro-Apartments | Seg. 2: Dad Jokes Beer

Jun 6, 2019

Segment 1: Affordability of Micro-Apartments

Developers plan to include micro-apartments as an option for "affordable housing" in the Midland building downtown. The plan has inspired an outcry from skeptical Kansas Citians: Is paying $750 for a tiny apartment truly affordable? A housing advocate and a business journalist weigh in.

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.

Segment 1: Mayoral candidate Jolie Justus shares her plans for Kansas City if elected.

Crime is one of the top concerns Jolie Justus hears when speaking with voters. The mayoral candidate explains why criminal justice reform is in her plans to address the city's crime rate. Justus also discussed her approach to using economic development incentives. 

Segment 1: 4th District candidates for Kansas City Council.

Kansas City firefighter Geoff Jolley and co-founder of BikeWalkKC Eric Bunch are competing for the 4th District City Council seat vacated by mayoral candidate Jolie Justus. Both look to make the city safer and more responsive to residents, but the top priorities for the 4-year term look different for each.

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.

Michelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR 89.3

Tony Ross lives in the small town of Peculiar, Missouri, now, but he was shopping at Leon’s Thriftway on East 39th Street days before the grocery business shut its doors for good.

Ross was shopping for his mother who lives in a nearby senior living facility.

“My mom is devastated. We all devastated,” Ross said. “There’s just a lot of history about this store."

After 51 years in business, Leon’s Thriftway closed over the weekend.

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.”

Overland Park Planning Commission

A proposal to build an Islamic community center in Overland Park received preliminary approval Monday despite apparent opposition from hundreds of Overland Park residents.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

It's still about a year out, but there's a new grocery store coming to downtown Kansas City, Kansas, and Katherine Carttar, director of economic development for the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, said it's long overdue.

Kevin Collison / CityScene KC

Kansas City's debate about whether to limit the height of new buildings on the Country Club Plaza escalated on Wednesday.

Members of the city's Planning, Zoning & Economic Development committee considered a proposal to restrict building heights to 45 feet in certain parts of the Plaza as part of the “bowl” plan that designates shorter buildings in the center of the entertainment district and taller ones on the edges. Currently, such restrictions are recommended but not mandated.

Segment 1: The plaza's historic look may see big changes in the future. 

New tenants on the Plaza could change the look of the historic Seville-inspired shopping district. As people wrestle with impending change, balancing nostalgia and aesthetics against commercial hope, we step back and talk about what the Plaza aesthetic is, and whether it's something we as Kansas Citians are attached to. 

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