By Corbin Smith, Editorial Assistant
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas visited the North Blue Ridge neighborhood June 2 to tour the area and listen to concerns community members wanted to express.
In the parking lot behind Beaumont Baptist Church residents gathered to enjoy locally grown food and drinks as they awaited the arrival of the man they hope will solve many lingering issues. President of the North Blue Ridge Neighborhood Association Jan Herrington organized the event to specifically discuss issues of safety, trash buildup and homelessness.
“There’s a lot of Land Bank lots in the neighborhood and we’re wondering how he can help us with those,” Herrington said. “There are a lot of little programs, but there are still a lot of places that need attention. Although there are a lot of bad parts, we want to show him all of the good we have here.”
Lucas explained that he wanted the Land Bank to be a resource for people. Outside of just offering land, he said the Land Bank should teach people how to get a loan to buy property or how to take care of property that is in need of rehabilitation.
Herrington didn’t get to show Lucas everything North Blue Ridge had to offer due to time constraints, but she showed enough for him to enjoy. She intended this tour as a way for her neighbors to shake the hand that impacts their livelihoods and connect the two worlds.
“There’s a lot to learn about every neighborhood,” Lucas said. “If you don’t think you have things to learn, you’re missing out. I don’t care if you’re the mayor, a pastor or anything under the sun. You can live there for years and years but if you don’t talk to anybody and see everything that’s going on, you’re missing out.”
Throughout the tractor-pulled hayride, Lucas was able to see the illegal garbage piles and abandoned houses in person. Kansas Citians waved from their porches as the convoy passed by and some were even able to approach the mayor and have a conversation with him.
The convoy briefly stopped at the Kansas City International Academy to talk to Superintendent David Leone who gifted him books that held special meaning to the school. This gesture, in some ways, signified the unification of the mayor and the city.
“I’ve never gotten out here long enough to see all of the positive changes,” Lucas said. “It gives me a lot of hope that the community is the core of the solution. I take where we can be better. We need to be better with illegal dumping, police response times and collaboration with getting the city council out here.”
Lucas is hoping to invest into the community to solve issues brought to his attention during his time with the residents of North Blue Ridge. One of the focuses he emphasized was listening to the community. For too long, the community felt neglected by the city, whether it’s because of their geographical location or something else. Nonetheless, the community expressed its gratitude for Lucas’ appearance and conversation.
Once he’s back in the office, he plans to craft new policies grown from the ideas community members shared. With the meet-and-greet, Lucas said he feels as though he’s making leeway in finding a solution.
“I heard a lot today and how do we address all of that?” Lucas said. “The first step is getting the mayor out here and I’m proud to be here now. I hope to be back out here.”