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Old 02-17-2017, 02:38 PM
 
112 posts, read 61,893 times
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Hello, everyone. This is my first post, but I've been lurking for a long time. I've lived in several cities throughout the middle of the country, and have lived in KC for the last 5 years. Being a "city enthusiast," I've always paid attention to the goings on where I've lived in terms of how the city I'm living in functions. I think KC has a lot of great attributes. At the same time, there are some things I would prefer to be different. Every city I've lived in seems to have some collective misconceptions about itself. Here's five that I feel KC has. I'm not trying to trash talk KC at all. I chose to move here, and I choose to stay here. That doesn't mean it's perfect, though. I hope this doesn't offend anyone. They're just my thoughts. I'm curious what your thoughts are.

1. KC is a small town. I say this is a misconception people have not because people literally think KC is small, but because people seem to fear KC being big. I think there seems to be a somewhat common antipathy to growth in KC. People fight development here more than the other places I've lived. People fight investing in growth here more than other places I've lived. And they seem to do it because of fears of traffic (which I discuss below), crowds, density etc and just change in general. My suspicion is that a lot of people have moved here from smaller towns, and thus KC already seems crowded and complex to them. In Dallas, a large majority is willing to spend tax and other public dollars on growth. KC not so much. And it feels like that all goes back to a pervasive sense of being small town and not needing all that big city stuff. KC is not a small town. It's a city. Let it act like a city.

2. KC has traffic problems (or will). This is a huge misconception around here. KC has virtually no traffic. Maybe three spots in this city get a little backed up for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening. You could double the traffic here, even in the most congested areas, and still be way better than most other cities. I really feel no project or plan or development should ever be denied here because of traffic. It's just not a problem.

3. The Plaza is special. The Plaza is really cool. No doubt about it. People from out of town love it too. But I've also spoken with people from Des Moines, Omaha and other such places who point out that the Plaza no longer has much that those cities don't already have. So they have no reason to go there anymore. And most cities I've lived in have charming urban commercial districts. Although the Plaza's architecture is unique, it's concept is not. In Chicago, for example, there are a dozen or more cool little downtown areas scattered throughout the suburbs that resemble the Plaza. Downtown Naperville comes to mind. Downtown Evanston too. Des Moines has the East Village. Dallas has Midtown and the Village. Minneapolis has Uptown and the Grand Avenue area (in addition to suburban downtowns). The Plaza should be allowed to grow and develop into a neighborhood, and the "save the Plaza" people should realize that limiting growth there only hurts it in the long run. It needs office, residential and retail to continue to thrive. It can't just be a shopping center anymore.

4. KC is growing fast (downtown included). KC is growing. And downtown KC has come back from near death. But unfortunately, it's nothing special compared to other cities. It's not as amazing as people around here think. Omaha, Des Moines and OKC are all growing faster in population and jobs than KC. So are MPLS and Denver. KC has a lot to offer compared to most of those cities. I'm not sure what's holding it back, but something is. KC is better than its current growth. It needs to figure out how to compete better. People definitely shouldn't be satisfied yet.

5. KC doesn't need a new airport. I get that KCI has its convenience factor. But as he gateway to our city, it's an embarrassment. And honestly, most of the time when I fly out of the SW terminal, I end up having to park elsewhere because the ramp is full. So it's not that convenient. It is an old, dysfunctional, outdated, nearly-obsolete airport. Airlines and the Feds are willing to buy us a new airport and we somehow still want to turn it down. Voters in McKinney Texas voted to raise their own taxes to build a $70 million high school football stadium. I question the prudence of that, but it illustrates the way some people think about investing in their communities and the future. We can't even get people on board with an airport others have agreed to pay for. I realize the comparison is somewhat apples to oranges. But I think it illustrates the different mindsets people in the Dallas area have compared to here.

One other thing -- not so much a misconception as a misperception. This is one city. I live in JoCo and work near the Plaza. In past lives I lived in downtown Chicago and Minneapolis (among other places). Both sides of the state line have a lot to offer and have their share of problems. Plenty of people in JoCo need to stop being so sheltered and take advantage of what KCMO has to offer (not just the Chiefs and Royals). You're not going to get shot (sheesh). And people in KCMO need to realize that every city has its suburbs. If they weren't in KS, they'd be somewhere in Missouri and would be no different than they are in KS. Hug it out, folks. We need to work together.
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Old 02-17-2017, 05:33 PM
 
Location: CasaMo
15,294 posts, read 7,148,141 times
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Who is this?
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Old 02-17-2017, 06:11 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
10,705 posts, read 18,493,517 times
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DallastoChicagotoKC, Good post. I agree with all of it.
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Old 02-17-2017, 06:56 PM
 
8 posts, read 5,005 times
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Good post! These are my short opinions:

1. You may be confusing “small town” mindset with simply a distrust of local governance when it comes to public financing of projects. The city created a past reputation that has taken many years to restore public confidence. Dallas has grown fast through an influx of residents partly because of Dallas’ national attention, while KC has grown more from the local populous only.

2. I don’t think this is an issue to most people in the area.

3. We want the Plaza to be a special place but it is privately owned and operated. More so, out of town people have even less reason to come to the Plaza since all of those high-end retailers offer their products online. It’ll be interesting (and sad) to see how internet sales will continue dissolving brick and mortar establishments across the country. The Plaza is a gem - I hope the new owners see that as well.

4. Not surprising. Do you have stats? A few cities, even in the midwest are’nt growing at all. Again, I think KC is somewhat overlooked on the national stage. Several local organizations are really pushing hard to promote the city and are starting to gain some momentum. KC is showing up in nationally distributed publications and TV/internet media outlets on a regular basis. We have the stuff - people outside the region just don’t know it.

5. This one is a no brainer. People here are just used to voting most things down because of what I said in point number 1. The business community is now getting behind it, which I think will turn the tide.

(6) This is the granddaddy of them all. You could write a book on the subject. This city is dysfunctional because of two reasons; it lies in two separate states and the name Kansas denotes two cities and one of the states. Lots of cities are situated close to state borders, but their anchor city isn’t named after the other state. You are right in that we need to cooperate as a metro area to move forward.
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Old 02-17-2017, 07:29 PM
 
Location: Middle America
35,817 posts, read 39,346,783 times
Reputation: 48613
Quote:
Originally Posted by DallastoChicagotoKC View Post
Hello, everyone. This is my first post, but I've been lurking for a long time. I've lived in several cities throughout the middle of the country, and have lived in KC for the last 5 years. Being a "city enthusiast," I've always paid attention to the goings on where I've lived in terms of how the city I'm living in functions. I think KC has a lot of great attributes. At the same time, there are some things I would prefer to be different. Every city I've lived in seems to have some collective misconceptions about itself. Here's five that I feel KC has. I'm not trying to trash talk KC at all. I chose to move here, and I choose to stay here. That doesn't mean it's perfect, though. I hope this doesn't offend anyone. They're just my thoughts. I'm curious what your thoughts are.
Your post piqued my interest, because, though I've lived here about twice as long as you have, I'm a transplant who has lived in many of the same places you have. So, it was interesting to me to read your take coming from some of the same experiences. I, too, chose freely to move here, and also chose freely to stay, after my initial reason for moving here no longer exactly applied. I have lived urban, suburban, and on either side of the state line. I don't find it perfect, but I find it to be the metro that personally suits me best, of anywhere I've ever lived. It just checks the most boxes, and has an atmosphere that works for me, to boot.

These are my NOT short opinions.

Quote:
1. KC is a small town. I say this is a misconception people have not because people literally think KC is small, but because people seem to fear KC being big. I think there seems to be a somewhat common antipathy to growth in KC. People fight development here more than the other places I've lived. People fight investing in growth here more than other places I've lived. And they seem to do it because of fears of traffic (which I discuss below), crowds, density etc and just change in general. My suspicion is that a lot of people have moved here from smaller towns, and thus KC already seems crowded and complex to them. In Dallas, a large majority is willing to spend tax and other public dollars on growth. KC not so much. And it feels like that all goes back to a pervasive sense of being small town and not needing all that big city stuff. KC is not a small town. It's a city. Let it act like a city.
It's interesting, because, having actually lived in a number of small towns, in addition to cities and suburbs, it would never have occurred to me to think of KC as a small town, or that there were people who might consider it a small town. I consider it a midsize city, and assumed others did as well.

While I wouldn't say I have an antipathy toward growth, I'm also ambivalent about it. Sprawl does nothing for me, nor does crowding with infill. I'm not a "make the core more dense!!" cheerleader, because I've lived in dense cities, and they're not my cup of tea. I actually really enjoy KC's size and degree of density, overall. Before living here, I wasn't actually that aware that places considered cities, as opposed to "large towns," could feel so pleasantly uncrowded. But that's a personal taste thing. I like cities, but I like space. I don't think KC feels crowded, or complex at all (and I spent most of my first two decades of life not just small town, but very rurally). That's something I greatly enjoy about it, actually...I get city amenities without having to deal with feeling crowded or drained and exhausted by the prospect of day in, day out navigating my way around a densely populated sea of people...something that wasn't true of living in, say, Chicago. Some people find that invigorating, I found it intensely draining over time. It's more peaceful, here. But, it doesn't feel small town. I know small town, intimately.

Quote:
2. KC has traffic problems (or will). This is a huge misconception around here. KC has virtually no traffic. Maybe three spots in this city get a little backed up for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening. You could double the traffic here, even in the most congested areas, and still be way better than most other cities. I really feel no project or plan or development should ever be denied here because of traffic. It's just not a problem.
Totally agree. The average native KC resident's idea of "traffic" is truly laughable. I've lived in too many cities where traffic is real to even give that the courtesy of a polite nod. "Traffic problems" are essentially nonexistent in KC. For real. And I grew up on a farm outside a town with one stoplight, where people routinely drive tractors into town, for perspective.

Quote:
3. The Plaza is special. The Plaza is really cool. No doubt about it. People from out of town love it too. But I've also spoken with people from Des Moines, Omaha and other such places who point out that the Plaza no longer has much that those cities don't already have. So they have no reason to go there anymore. And most cities I've lived in have charming urban commercial districts. Although the Plaza's architecture is unique, it's concept is not. In Chicago, for example, there are a dozen or more cool little downtown areas scattered throughout the suburbs that resemble the Plaza. Downtown Naperville comes to mind. Downtown Evanston too. Des Moines has the East Village. Dallas has Midtown and the Village. Minneapolis has Uptown and the Grand Avenue area (in addition to suburban downtowns). The Plaza should be allowed to grow and develop into a neighborhood, and the "save the Plaza" people should realize that limiting growth there only hurts it in the long run. It needs office, residential and retail to continue to thrive. It can't just be a shopping center anymore.
I do think the Plaza is special, but from an aesthetic perspective, versus a retail perspective. It's an outdoor mall, which is no big whoop. I'm not a shopper, and even if I were, find the retail to be mundane and certainly on the decline, as far as shops of unique interest and appeal. I appreciate the parks, lived on a couple of them during my time as a Plaza resident. It's one of the few highly pedestrian-friendly parts of the city, and is actually appealing to pedestrians, unlike some of the other marginally pedestrian-friendly areas. It hosts fun community events. The architecture is interesting, although I'm generally opposed to tearing down vintage and replacing with ugly contemporary (as opposed to attractive contemporary. One of my former buildings of residence has succumbed to this, and several attractive and historic buildings adjacent to my former buildings of residence, as well. Again, a personal taste thing, but I'm never a fan of tearing down old simply to replace with new, if new is unattractive and uninteresting. I also think that being a resident of the Plaza and having it actually be your neighborhood offers a different perspective than being a sometime patron of the Plaza who drives in from elsewhere.

Quote:
4. KC is growing fast (downtown included). KC is growing. And downtown KC has come back from near death. But unfortunately, it's nothing special compared to other cities. It's not as amazing as people around here think. Omaha, Des Moines and OKC are all growing faster in population and jobs than KC. So are MPLS and Denver. KC has a lot to offer compared to most of those cities. I'm not sure what's holding it back, but something is. KC is better than its current growth. It needs to figure out how to compete better. People definitely shouldn't be satisfied yet.
No real opinion. Growth isn't, truthfully, a large interest of mine. I enjoy KC as it is, sizewise/population stability-wise, and don't care to see populations greatly decline, at all, nor job loss. But, I also am admittedly not fixated on growth. I do focus on improvement, but I don't equate improvement with growth, per se. I also am absolutely not fixated in any way on "competing." I do think that KC is somewhat overlooked, and has hidden gem status...in my decade here, folks who've visited, who wouldn't have, otherwise, have been surprised and impressed, at any rate...even people from much larger cities, who didn't expect much. The difference between me and many, though, is that I actually really LIKE living in a place that's more "best kept secret" and underrated.

Quote:
5. KC doesn't need a new airport. I get that KCI has its convenience factor. But as he gateway to our city, it's an embarrassment. And honestly, most of the time when I fly out of the SW terminal, I end up having to park elsewhere because the ramp is full. So it's not that convenient. It is an old, dysfunctional, outdated, nearly-obsolete airport. Airlines and the Feds are willing to buy us a new airport and we somehow still want to turn it down. Voters in McKinney Texas voted to raise their own taxes to build a $70 million high school football stadium. I question the prudence of that, but it illustrates the way some people think about investing in their communities and the future. We can't even get people on board with an airport others have agreed to pay for. I realize the comparison is somewhat apples to oranges. But I think it illustrates the different mindsets people in the Dallas area have compared to here.
Similarly, definitely not a pet issue of mine. On a personal level, I'm completely satisfied with the airport as it exists, for my own use and purposes, and don't find it to be terrible, an embarrassment, or a big deal.

Quote:
One other thing -- not so much a misconception as a misperception. This is one city. I live in JoCo and work near the Plaza. In past lives I lived in downtown Chicago and Minneapolis (among other places). Both sides of the state line have a lot to offer and have their share of problems. Plenty of people in JoCo need to stop being so sheltered and take advantage of what KCMO has to offer (not just the Chiefs and Royals). You're not going to get shot (sheesh). And people in KCMO need to realize that every city has its suburbs. If they weren't in KS, they'd be somewhere in Missouri and would be no different than they are in KS. Hug it out, folks. We need to work together.
Having lived in urban and suburban areas in various metros, I both agree and disagree with points, here.

Plenty of people in Johnson County are sheltered (and I currently live in Johnson County). So are plenty of people in Lee's Summit, Liberty, Parkville, Platte City, Harrisonville, Raymore, Excelsior Springs, and any suburb or far-flung exurb, regardless of what side of the state line. When I lived in Lee's Summit, I had neighbors who were aghast at the idea of driving downtown to an event at the Sprint Center, which was mindblowing to me. When I pointed out that driving in as far as the Plaza, parking in a free garage, and taking a Max bus would work,too,if they preferred, that was also met with similar horrifying levels of trepidation, what with using public transportation being so apparently intimidating and all. Again, this was bizarre to me, and again, I literally grew up on a farm and can't say I find the idea of hopping a Max bus at the Plaza to be "scary." It's very strange to me that this would be a foreign concept to a lifelong Lee's Summit resident. But, my point is, being a caricature of a sheltered suburbanite isn't limited to the stereotypical JoCo resident, and lots of us are completely comfortable in the city, and not just the "Downtown/River Market/Crossroads/Plaza." My family and I spend every Sunday with our church community just off 39th and Troost, my husband's workplace is located at Prospect and Agnes, and despite being a mostly lifelong resident of Johnson County, not counting military orders to other places, he's also taught in urban schools in Strawberry Hill KCK, and the old Northeast neighborhoods. Not exactly glossy, pretty urban KC, all around.

But I do agree that the "border war" mentality is the height of moronic. I find, thankfully, that it exists more virulently in online forums than in real life.

Last edited by TabulaRasa; 02-17-2017 at 07:40 PM..
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Old 02-17-2017, 08:38 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
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Originally Posted by TabulaRasa View Post
But I do agree that the "border war" mentality is the height of moronic. I find, thankfully, that it exists more virulently in online forums than in real life.
You keep saying this and while I totally agree, in everyday living and interacting between people in both states across the metro area, the border war is not even a thing. Rarely do conversations about state line even exist and when they do, there is little hostility or animosity. People from different parts of the metro get along fine and because KC is so evenly split, it's nearly impossible to avoid interacting with people from the other state on a very regular basis.

Having said that, the issues are still very real which is why they do come out so vehemently in more anonymous online social media, forums etc. So it's not only this forum. You will find similar discussions in forums, comments sections etc on dozens of websites where any topic related to KS vs MO comes up.

Of course many people bring up that it goes back to the civil war, or it's related to the college rivalries and I suppose that could be true. However, most of the actual modern day arguments from people like myself and most others revolve around the regional economy and future of metro KC. Do people sit around and discuss how Kansas aggressively poaches Missouri companies, organizations or assets over lunch at Jacks Stack? Not really. Maybe they should though.

Maybe instead of downplaying the border war as only an online phenomenon, people should start accepting that it is real so they can maybe star addressing some of major problems this imaginary border war has created for all of metro KC. Online or not, the border war is absolutely the major obstacle to KC's ability to thrive and grow back into the world class top 20 metro it once was.

But like DallastoChicagotoKC says. I'm not sure most people in KC have any desire for KC to "thrive" and act like a progressive and developing "big city". Most are fine with KC just staying the way it is and will even go out of their way to make sure KC stays the same.

Last edited by kcmo; 02-17-2017 at 08:46 PM..
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Old 02-18-2017, 03:06 AM
 
Location: SF Bay Area
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Originally Posted by MoNative34 View Post
Who is this?
I felt sure I wasn't the only one who heard a double echo.
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Old 02-18-2017, 06:20 AM
 
1,298 posts, read 983,095 times
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Great thread. Thanks for hopping on board!

Here are my SHORT opinions...

-The Plaza IS special. It was the first shopping center of its kind ever built, and it is architecturally unique. Perhaps it's not AS special as some people think, but it's still a great civic asset.

-The city does not need a new AIRPORT. But it does need a new SINGLE TERMINAL. This appears to be what the OP meant, but it's important to distinguish between these two terms.

-The border war is REAL, whether or not it gets discussed by average people in everyday situations. As kcmo said, it's a severe hindrance to the progress of the metro. It's nice that Kansans and Missourians aren't actually feuding with each other, as some might imagine. But the governments certainly are. Or at the very least, they're not cooperating at even a minimal acceptable level.
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Old 02-18-2017, 08:55 AM
 
Location: Alamogordo, NM
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I can't help but think back to the days of The Bushwacker's in the Civil War days. Can it's effect still be lingering? Kansas and Missouri were really bickering back then, governments and splint-off groups, too. This place was a desperate mess. I did some reading on it when I was going to college in Rolla, MO, between 2003 and 2005. Really enlightened me - and, even though I don't remember the details, I do remember this - this place was a scary place to be. Or at least certain country areas were - I don't know that Kansas City, MO, was even affected in those nasty scuffles over who's side to be on - the Union or the Confederate's. Anyone know what I mean? I am getting the weirdest feeling about this after reading all of your all's posts above.


If any of you think of the word "curse" you'll start getting what I mean. Ugh.


Also, I wasn't thinking of retiring in Kansas City, but I just might. There's a genuine quality to KC that I find really appealing. I'm thinking opportunities galore - buying a new car, buying a house, etc., etc. Not enough time in a day ta do all that I want. Retirement will bring me that time. Maybe! I come from Seattle but Seattle has priced me out - it is a place to be seen and see others. And brag about what you've bought or what you've done. It's economy is high-tech., but it is rather stuffy. Remember that John Conlee song 'Common Man?'


Perfect explanation. I'll be perfectly happy to be a common man. In Kansas City, MO. Or Overland Park, KS. I'm late to the border war, dudes. And dudettes.

Last edited by elkotronics; 02-18-2017 at 09:45 AM..
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Old 02-18-2017, 10:14 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
10,705 posts, read 18,493,517 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwiksell View Post
Great thread. Thanks for hopping on board!

-The Plaza IS special. It was the first shopping center of its kind ever built, and it is architecturally unique. Perhaps it's not AS special as some people think, but it's still a great civic asset.
I agree with this. The plaza is still one of the best examples of a mixed use urban district in America. It's no longer the region retail destination it once was, but it's still a very neat area from an architecture and ambiance standpoint and it's still a very desirable place to live work and play.

The problem with the plaza now is the same thing KC seems to have problems with. The Plaza has got to change, evolve, grow and develop in order for it to remain relevant. KC residents (especially organizations like Save the Plaza) need to allow the plaza to evolve into more of a self sustaining urban neighborhood that no longer depends on tourists from Omaha or even Olathe. So it needs new high density housing, new hotels, new office buildings etc so it can support the nearly 1 million sq ft of retail space there. If you don't allow the plaza to change and grow, the plaza will decline.

The plaza also needs to be connected to downtown via the streetcar or over the next decade or two, Downtown will see all the growth while the Plaza area struggles, just like what happened to Downtown in the previous 20 years. The Plaza KC's second downtown and the other bookend of the central urban corridor. Let it grow. Let it change. If you don't, it will change in the wrong direction.
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