By Joe Jarosz
September 24, 2014
KANSAS CITY, Missouri – For a few hours last Saturday, one block in Historic Northeast was better than the others.
From 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 20, the Pendleton Heights Neighborhood Association hosted the first Better Block event in Northeast. The event has been held several times around the Kansas City area in the past.
The daylong event showed what a block with reduced lanes for bicycle riders and more outside seating would look like in Historic Northeast. Between Park and Brooklyn Avenues along Lexington Street, tables were spread out across a vacant lot to give patrons participating in the day of activities a chance to sit and relax. Accompanying the tables were pop-up booths from Eleos Coffee to a bike repair shop.
Jessica Ray, president of the Pendleton Height’s Neighborhood Association, hosted a tour of the community garden, located at Brooklyn and Minnie in the heart of the Pendleton Heights neighborhood. Plots in the garden are available for lease to residents for personal gardening or residents can work in community plots in exchange for a share of the harvest.
Businesses also opened their doors to those experiencing the better block event. Tara Quirk, owner of the Sock Monkey Gallery, gave pedestrians a sneak preview of her shop, which she said is set to open early next year. The art gallery will fill the spot of the former grocery store Safahalal, which had been in the location for about 15 years. Quirk said she wanted to open the gallery along Lexington because the Northeast is filled with artists, but doesn’t have a gallery.
“A gallery paired with Al Rahman Café and the other businesses along Lexington as well as the gardens gives people a good alternative to spending a day off the Avenue,” Quirk said.
Quirk said she was excited to see more people walking around and biking through the area. She said with a community like the Northeast, it doesn’t take a lot of people to transform something into a positive for the community.