Don’t Forget about Downtown Kansas City, Kansas

Click here to view the full Downtown Kansas City, KS album on Flickr
Downtown Kansas City, KS is overall a pretty rough downtown centered along Minnesota Avenue between 5th and 10th Streets lined with 2-3 story commercial buildings. The occasional mid-sized buildings is sprinkled throughout especially surrounding the heart of downtown, Huron Park between 6th and 7th Streets. I extended the evaluation area to be between Washing Blvd and Orville Ave. This captures portions of residential areas like Strawberry Hill & Riverview. I evaluated this as a neighborhood because it is not a major employment hub for the region.

It seems like most of what remains in Downtown Kansas City, KS are government office and services. Some retail remains downtown, but more of the main street type. Few non-governmental offices buildings left. But some positive momentum and initiatives happening downtown with the creation of the Downtown Kansas City Shareholders, formed around a voluntary business improvement district in 2008. Also, there is some positive momentum with renovations of historic homes, specially in Strawberry Hill. This area also hosts some decent urban retail on 6th & 5th Street. But overall there is a lot of blight still in the residential areas.

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Some positive momentum and initiatives happening downtown with the creation of a business district improvement district in 2008 and efforts to fill retail vacancies.
* Pretty good public transit access. Easy driving access to Downtown MO, but pretty poor transit access, especially considering how close it is.
* Highly connected Street Grid.
* Pretty good income diversity although it skews poorer.
* Great racial diversity and pretty good economic and generational diversity.
* Along with Minnesota, some nice urban comm along 4th & 5th Ave.
* Nice array of walkable elementary schools ringing dwtn. Reviews are mixed. Great Arts & Science High School within Dwtn. 

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Significant blight and vacancy
* Not a lot of vibrancy downtown. This is also due to the linear, east to west lay out of downtown.
* Rental options are very limited, but what does exist is very cheap. For sale housing  is generally on the cheap end and somewhat blighted but some nice renovated housing in the high 100ks.
* Some parks but not the greatest.
* Cultural amenities are a bit limited. They include a theater, a local museum, some restaurants and bars, a casino.
* Some neighborhood amenities… salons, banks, a drug store, a family dollar, dwtn library & post office.
* Pretty gritty and a fair amount of blight throughout.
* Fair amount of surface parking downtown and dead space.

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