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.

  • Opportunities Denied

    June 21st, 2017

    Northeast News June 21, 2017 This week the dog would like to call out the Missouri State Treasurer’s office for […]

    Hack Piece

    June 14th, 2017

    Northeast News June 13, 2017 According to the web site Wikipedia, a hack writer is a pejorative term for a […]

    This week’s buzz

    June 7th, 2017

    Northeast News June 7, 2017 The News-Dog is taking this week off from offering tasty tidbits and biting comments on […]

    Introducing our summer intern

    May 31st, 2017

    Northeast News May 31, 2017 Every summer here at the House of News we host a college intern, courtesy of […]

    Crony Capitalism

    May 24th, 2017

    Northeast News May 24, 2017 If there was ever a doubt that crony capitalism existed and is living large in […]

  • Time to commit

    May 17th, 2017

    Northeast News May 17, 2017 Last week at Thursday’s City Council Business Session two Councilwomen, Alissia Canady and Katheryn Shields, […]


    May 10th, 2017

    Northeast News May 10, 2017 It was a banner weekend in Historic Northeast, with a variety of activities taking place […]

    When a landmark isn’t a landmark

    May 3rd, 2017

    Northeast News May 3, 2017 It is said that those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. No better […]

    Liberal Logic

    April 26th, 2017

    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

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

  • Follow us on Twitter

  • What’s Happening

    SVN to receive another $450K in grant funds

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News June 22, 2017 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – The good news keep rolling in for Scuola […]

    Law enforcement taking steps to address surge in violent crime

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News June 22, 2017 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – The victim in an early-morning June 10 robbery […]

    retorts illustrated bryan stalder

    Northeast News June 21, 2017

  • Local Weather