The long rumored move for the Royals from the Truman Sports Complex to downtown Kansas City picked up more steam.
Good. I like it. The explosion of downtown KC into a vibrant cultural center is a significant step in KC’s move from boring ass midmarket cowtown to a bustling modern growing city that’s still kind of a cowtown. Embrace it. We will never be Nashville. We will never be Austin. We should never should be either of those two cities. Kansas City is a city with a unique culture centered around sports, food and hospitality. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Now is the time to showcase our culture with a crown jewel of a downtown stadium. There’s never been a better time. Money has never been cheaper. The Dunn family is the second money in on the Royals and it’s easy to read the tea leaves as to why they were brought on.
There are neighborhoods surrounding downtown that are in desperate need of revitalization. The Troost corridor between I-70 and 22nd Street has been primed for growth for the past decade. The cold, hard truth is that not many families are going to be comfortable walking to their car at 10pm on a Friday night in that neighborhood. A revitalization of that area around the Negro Leagues Museum and Jazz District would be the most exciting thing to happen in Kansas City since the decision to build Sprint Center. It’s an area in dire need of investment. Kansas City’s heartbeat was once in that oblong square corridor from Truman Road to 22nd Street, enclosed by Troost and Brooklyn Ave. The amount of history encased within that neighborhood is about as dense and saturated as you can find in the city, and it has gone completely ignored during KC’s renaissance.
The American Jazz Museum, the 18th and Vine Jazz District, the MLB Urban Youth Academy, Arthur Bryant’s, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, the Mid-American Black Archives, the former site of Municipal Stadium, the Charlie Parker Memorial and innumerable jazz clubs in one of the country’s long forgotten and undervalued entertainment districts. This incredible slice of American history is enclosed in four square blocks that has sat idly by while Power & Light, the Crossroads, the Westside, River Market and Berkley Riverfront have all exploded with development. It is long past time to move eastward and give the eastern neighborhoods of KC their shot.
The city cannot move forward until we provide ample opportunity for these places to shine. I do not want to see jazz clubs torn down in favor of a Ted’s Montana Grill. Don’t House of Blues my Juke House, if you get what I’m saying. This is a tremendous opportunity to revitalize and lift up a neighborhood in KC that has significantly more to offer than anything that came out of this city’s bloated postmodern, obnoxiously corporate expansion on either side of the turn of the millennium. Jazz and forgotten black culture runs through this city’s veins and the heartbeat was once in this little pad of downtown.
If you are going to sentence Kansas City’s beloved old ballpark to death, let’s inject some life into its most forgotten and forsaken neighborhoods and continue the renaissance of KC. Show the world a long forgotten side of KC that they never knew they needed to see. Dig up the treasure that has been buried for too long.