Westport Under Siege

Northeast News
March 29, 2017

While this history-minded canine wasn’t around during the fall of 1864, when Confederate General Sterling Price was chased from Westport by Union troops with his flank hanging out, we’re old enough to know when one of Kansas City’s most historic crossroads is once again under siege. This time, however, the marauders aren’t wearing Confederate grey with red stockings. Oh no, a far more nefarious enemy is laying siege to Westport and they’re dressed in pinstripe blue and carry portfolios full of architectural renderings designed to impress and bedazzle city committees with shiny new, multi-story developments that will blot out history on two prominent corners in Westport.
The more egregious development is that which is going in just north of the old Manor bread Bakery in the 4000 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, where a pair of fourteen-story, high rise towers dubbed as “mixed-use” are proposed. The development would cram over 500 apartment units into the two towers and would replace the single-story building that currently houses the CharBar and extend north, also encompassing the Westport Coffee House, also a single story building, both of which add to Westport’s character as a historic community. Sit back and think about the traffic and parking impact that would create in an already cramped-for-growth area.
The other development, slated for the corner of Westport Road and Broadway, is a six-story, “mixed use” development that would house 256 apartments over retail shops on the first floor. It would replace the two-story Bank of America building currently occupying the site.
With history in this Cow-Town under attack the way that it has been recently, this dog is not surprised as to the brazen attitude of developers to try and bamboozle historic neighborhoods and communities into allowing these concrete and glass abominations to be constructed, razing layer after layer of history in the process. This dog warned that the city’s PZED committee’s passing of a local MPD would set a dangerous precedent and that cross is coming to bear in a big way with these two developments that in no way, shape or form match the scope, elevation, setback and material designations listed forth in the Urban Design Guidelines used by the City’s Landmarks Commission in determining what should and shouldn’t be constructed in a historic neighborhood.
Oh, but wait. This dog forgets that we don’t have a Historic Preservation office that truly functions as an entity that stands up and preserves history. Oh sure, they show up to the annual Old House Expo at the Kansas City Museum, but when the rubber meets the road, they’re largely missing in action when it comes to defending and preserving history. One look at their abysmal prosecutorial record tells the story. It’s easy to not lose any cases when you haven’t seen the inside of a courtroom in over a decade.
Here’s the bottom line. If you’re fine with these marauding, suit-wearing developers running roughshod over historic properties and neighborhoods in the name of progress, then by all means, continue to support the status quo and play grab hand at the high dollar awards dinners that allegedly recognize historic preservation high achievers. To the converse, however, if you’re sick and tired of said developers razing historic structure after historic structure in order to erect grand monuments to the modern age that defy scope, elevation and setback, then get involved at the grass roots level, either individually or as a member of the various activist historic preservation organizations in town. A recent article in the Kansas City Midtown Post (midtownkcpost.com) penned by former KCUR staffer Mary Jo Draper expertly outlines the importance of historic preservation and the current effort to have the Westport community surveyed for preservation purposes.

Comments are closed.

  • Liberal Logic

    April 26th, 2017
    by

    Northeast News April 26, 2017 Well, this dog called it yet again. We’ve long suspected that the Mayor’s so called […]


    Bait and switch

    April 19th, 2017
    by

    Northeast News April 19, 2017 One of the first things this news dog learned in Journalism School were some of […]


    Steppin’ up

    April 12th, 2017
    by

    Northeast News April 12, 2017 Well, last week’s vote didn’t exactly go how the Newsdog had thought it would. We […]


    (18 U.S.C. § 922[g][1-9])

    April 5th, 2017
    by

    Northeast News April 5, 2017 Federal law (18 U.S.C. § 922[g][1-9]) prohibits certain individuals from possessing firearms, ammunition, or explosives. […]


    Planning the Museum

    March 22nd, 2017
    by

    Northeast News March 22, 2017 This lil’ doggie certainly took some notice last week when the Star’s Dave Helling penned […]


  • History Lessons

    March 15th, 2017
    by

    Northeast News March 15, 2017 These historic Colonial Court apartments are likely headed for the wrecking ball thanks to a […]


    Minimum wage maximum protest

    March 8th, 2017
    by

    Northeast News March 8, 2017 Here we go again, more screaming about a living wage not being a living wage […]


    Take your bricks and go home

    March 1st, 2017
    by

    March 1, 2017 Northeast News Remember when you were a kid and the neighborhood bully kicked sand in your face, […]


    History out the window

    February 22nd, 2017
    by

    Northeast News February 22, 2016 Last week the city’s PZED – that’s Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Committee   to the […]


    A Royale Eyesore

    February 15th, 2017
    by

    Northeast News February 15, 2017 It seems like a lifetime since we announced back in January of 2016 that the […]


  • Local Weather

  • What’s Happening

    Historic Preservation Commission recommends against KCU plan

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News April 28, 2017 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – During it’s Friday, April 28 meeting, the KCMO […]

    NE KC Violence Reduction Initiative seeking public input

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News April 27, 2017 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – The NE KC Violence Reduction Initiative would like […]

    KCMO audit of Independence Avenue CID yields 10 recommendations

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News April 26, 2017 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – The KCMO City Auditor’s office has made 10 […]