Truth

When false information is repeated enough times, it becomes the truth for some people. That has been the case for the misconception that the city isn’t doing anything to help neighborhoods east of Troost.

I grew up at 44th and Montgall, and I’ve lived in this city nearly my entire life. I rode my bike with my brothers in neighborhoods east of Troost. I delivered The Call newspaper to homes east of Troost. I learned a lot of life lessons on streets east of Troost. Those streets, and the families who live there, mean even more to me now than they did back then (you get a bit wiser as you age). So during my time as mayor, I’ve tried hard to do right by those neighborhoods and the people who still call them home.

Since 2011, over $2 billion in major developments, ranging from housing and commercial real estate to infrastructure and capital improvements have been approved, broken ground or been completed just in the area east of Troost, south of the river, and north of 63rd Street. The frosty staff in our Planning Department put these maps together to illustrate activity that has occurred since 2011.

I’m very proud that two of the most notable projects our city has seen in decades — the $30 million Choice Neighborhood Implementation Grant and the $14 million Urban Youth Baseball Academy – will help transform those respective neighborhoods that lie in our city’s east side. Both of those projects involve tremendous collaboration, a team of visionary thinkers and the will to push the envelope a bit. I can’t wait to see the results.

It’s also worth noting that the City purchased the Linwood Shopping Center when no one else would so that the residents in the area could have access to something that should not be a luxury – fresh food.

Bricks and mortar projects are certainly needed. They absolutely move neighborhoods forward. But so does building social capital, and we’ve been working on that as well.

Since 2011, within that same area of the city, we’ve hosted nearly 1,000 Mayor’s Nights events that have provided a safe, fun environment for about 75,000 young people to enjoy for 10 weeks during the summer. One very positive result of our engagement with our youth is that juvenile crime and victimization decreases between 16% and 18% when our programs are active.

Turn the Page KC, in partnership with Lead to Read,  has recruited 715 volunteers to help children learn to read – just like I did when I was growing up in our small house a few blocks east of Prospect Avenue, and I’d climb up in the attic to get away from my two brothers and get lost in a Doc Savage novel. We’ve seen the needle move on third grade reading proficiency, which, while still way too low, has moved from a city-wide average 33% in 2011 to 49% last year.

It feels good to attend a ribbon-cutting for a new building, but it feels better to see the light bulb turn on in a child’s head when they learn to read.

The fact is, I have always been, and remain to this day, firmly committed to helping underdeveloped neighborhoods flourish. I love the opportunity to connect with thousands of people on a regular basis who live, work and play in Kansas City. Every resident of Kansas City is important, regardless of ZIP code, socioeconomic status, religion or anything else.

We’re continuing to focus future planning efforts east of Troost. Earlier this month, we submitted an application for a very competitive grant from the Department of Transportation that has, as its centerpiece, digitization of the Prospect Max bus route, supporting WiFi and information age kiosks that will enable citizens to engage with their city government. If we are fortunate enough to be awarded this grant, we could begin construction within the next 24 months.

And just last week, I proposed to Council a concept for the Shared Success Fund, which would channel funds the city gains from economic development projects in areas of town where development has come more easily to those areas where development has been more difficult to attract. Over time, the Shared Success Fund will be another tool we have at our disposal to promote development in severely distressed neighborhoods.

To the people I serve who live in our city’s eastern neighborhoods, the city hasn’t forgotten about you. I haven’t forgotten about you. Far from it. We’re going to do a better job of telling you about all things going on in your neighborhoods. The fact is, there is more going on east of Troost now than at any time in decades and there are some great stories to tell. We are working hard and will continue to do so. And that’s the truth.

Eastside Development Map: 

Eastside Development Doc Proj and Status 4-27-2016

New Development Map – Updated 11.8.16

 

9 thoughts on “Truth

  1. I worked for Kcpl co. For 31 years, I know what you are talking about sir. Thank you so much for being a good mayor for K.C. May God bless you!

  2. Thanks, Mayor. There is a lot of neglected housing stock , and small business stock, on the East Side and Northeast that really needs to be given help before it all burns up. The demos and dollar house ideas/actions are promising, yet really encouraging people to fix up, and to own locally over there is a project needing muscle and money. I’m not sure what kind of house you are living in now, but I know you lived in a Hyde Park jewelbox for a long time, and I hope you still have some affection for the old wood and plaster walls. The Northeast, Swope Parkway, Benton, these areas have new life to give, with old wood and brick.

  3. Mayor, you are an inspiration to many of us. My wife & I just recently move to the Rockhill neighborhood and I am blessed to have a leader like you. We are both in the development industry (my wife for Hunt Midwest and myself with RED Development) and although we focus our day jobs on (mostly) new development, we are also committed to reviving the glory of the historic areas at night. We have undertook two residential remodels to bring homes that were once amazing pieces of this great city and had fallen on hard times, back to their original glory. The first at 717 Manheim, which I understand was just a few doors down from your old place, was an eyesore and on the dangerous building list and it’s now home to a lovely family that is also committed to KC. The second is a great home near the UMKC campus that hadn’t been touched since the 60′s. Although we’d love to make a profit, our largest reward is seeing the glory revived as that is worth far more than money. If at any time, either of us could be of assistance to you and your administration, please reach out to me. We plan on getting much more involved in the community and in city planning but we’re always available if needed. Thanks again and I look forward to the future of Kansas City.

    -Eric Mann
    913-515-7783

  4. Mayor, you are an inspiration to many of us. My wife & I just recently move to the Rockhill neighborhood and I am blessed to have a leader like you. We are both in the development industry (my wife for Hunt Midwest and myself with RED Development) and although we focus our day jobs on (mostly) new development, we are also committed to reviving the glory of the historic areas at night. We have undertook two residential remodels to bring homes that were once amazing pieces of this great city and had fallen on hard times, back to their original glory. The first at 717 Manheim, which I understand was just a few doors down from your old place, was an eyesore and on the dangerous building list and it’s now home to a lovely family that is also committed to KC. The second is a great home near the UMKC campus that hadn’t been touched since the 60′s. Although we’d love to make a profit, our largest reward is seeing the glory revived as that is worth far more than money. If at any time, either of us could be of assistance to you and your administration, please reach out to me. We plan on getting much more involved in the community and in city planning but we’re always available if needed. Thanks again and I look forward to the future of Kansas City.

    -Eric Mann

  5. Great post. Very encouraging to hear that this vital section of our city has not been forgotten after many years of appearing to be a low priority. Is there a way for residents who share in the desire to revitalize this area with arts, culture, and forward thinking ways to creatively make long-term economic impacts to partner with the city? I currently partner in running an after school program in this area and working towards obtaining 501c3 status for my organization. My aim is to make this very area just as relevant and rich in the unique artistic outlets that are available to the community and surrounding areas.

  6. It’s great to read that you are doing so many great things to build up areas that I grew up in as well. I’ve thought for years that inner city youth and young adults deserved better options in order to have a bright future. Keep bringing the positive and I’ll do my part to support you any way possible. Thanks Mayor James

  7. I would like to know what are going to do southeast Kansas City. We have had crime and foreclosure a with Middle East people’s businesses that do not provide the grocery stores of fruits and veggies. We have had section eight with home owner’s in our neighborhoods which brings on all the including the drugs and loud music etc. All the wonderful things you are doing in the east, their need to also, be that same in the southeast.

    From a homeowner taxpayer

  8. Mayor you said, “Since 2011, within that same area of the city, we’ve hosted nearly 1,000 Mayor’s Nights events that have provided a safe, fun environment for about 75,000 young people to enjoy for 10 weeks during the summer. One very positive result of our engagement with our youth is that juvenile crime and victimization decreases between 16% and 18% when our programs are active.” “The fact is, I have always been, and remain to this day, firmly committed to helping underdeveloped neighborhoods flourish”

    You NEVER do anything for the “white” children of your community. For example whenever you do a media event that gives you the opportunity to showcase/represent children in your community, you never have white children there. The job fair you had a few months back, was attended by 95% black kids. Your “street parties” or “Mayor Nights” that you have, seriously tell us the ratio of black to white kids that attend.
    ” Every resident of Kansas City is important, regardless of ZIP code, socioeconomic status, religion or anything else.” So untrue! The new program set up in the Hickman Mills district “OK Program, strives to help black males ages 12-18 develop leadership and social skills, set academic and athletic goals, and become college and career ready.” So what white boys don’t deserve a chance?
    “Whites” are not the majority anymore, there the “minority” when we have to be careful of EVERYTHING that we say or do so we don’t offend the black people, and we have to give up everything, it makes us the minority.
    For example as early as today, the BETAwards are on tonight, Remember the controversy about the Oscars, but yet they can have there own awards show and it’s OK?? How about this, every February, I have to deal with Black History Month, and then we have Cinco De Mayo. There is no WHITE history month or even day. Is that not racist? My child is forced to have that shoved down his throat in school every year.
    Yes!! I am white and sound racist. I don’t care, when I see Black Lives Matter being shoved in my face everyday, and black people calling out the word racist just because somebody white looked at them the wrong way, and white people loosing there jobs over it, and black people still go around in there circles using the word Nigger like it’s nothing, but don’t let a white person say that word.. then Yes!! I become racist and feel like a minority..

    So Mayor that is why I am calling you out, I feel that you are a good Mayor, but you only look out for the black people of your community the most.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>