By Abby Hoover

Independence Plaza is a Northeast neighborhood rich in historic significance to the Kansas City metropolitan area.

The neighborhood is south of Independence Avenue, bordered by Benton Boulevard on the east, I-70 on the south, and Brooklyn, south of Ninth Street, and Paseo, north of Ninth Street, on the west.

“Its diversity includes many cultures, land uses, and housing types,” according to a 2020 study by Hoxie Collective. “This neighborhood has two commercial corridors (Independence Avenue and Prospect Avenue) and adjacency to the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences. The prevalence of households without vehicles is almost twice the city’s average, however, the proximity to downtown jobs, service providers, and local retail along Independence Avenue makes this location a convenient commute for the residents of Independence Plaza.”

The Independence Plaza Neighborhood Council (IPNC) recently elected new Executive Officers. President Cynthia Herrington has lived in the neighborhood since 2017. The thing she loves most about living in Independence Plaza is the novelty, and she says there is always something new to learn or discover.

“Living in New York City for almost 20 years was a good hybrid for her,” a recent IPNC newsletter reads. “Her superpower is creating something that people don’t know was possible as a set designer. She’s hoping more neighbors will want to get involved and take her seat one day.”

Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce hosted a “ribbon tying” event at Boulevard Bakery in Independence Plaza to honor their business after 30 years of service. The bakery closed August 2021.

Vice President Laura Palacios, a strategic communications specialist, has given the council’s newsletter a modern makeover, creating an informative and attractive vehicle for keeping residents informed. Her husband, Treasurer Edgar Palacios recently opened an office in the nearby Pendleton Heights neighborhood for his education nonprofits Revolución Educativa (RevED) and Latinx Education Collaborative (LEC). Although they’ve only been in the neighborhood a few years, they and their toddler have put down roots and dedicated countless hours to the community.

The board’s secretary is Megan Morgan, the Southeast Quadrant is represented by Augusta Wilbon, the Northeast Quadrant by Major Janice Love, the Northwest Quadrant by Travis Strong, and the Southwest Quadrant by Forestine Beasley.

Monthly IPNC, Inc. meetings are currently via Zoom. Normally they are held on the second Thursday from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

“If you live in the neighborhood, you’re a member and your input is welcome, no dues required,” according to the IPNC’s Facebook page. “Don’t live in the Independence Plaza neighborhood? No problem! If you own a business and/or property within our boundaries, you, too, are a member by default! We hope you will join us!”

There will be an Independence Plaza neighborhood clean up on March 28. They are looking for a neighbor to be present from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. to ensure that leaves and brush are not going into the dumpster, neighbors with pickup trucks to help with tire pickups and more, and neighbors interested in participating and needing blue bags. The City will have the Spring Curbside leaf and brush picked up from March 28 to April 1.

The first Northeast clean up of the year is on April 9. There will be a dumpster in Independence Plaza in Harmony Park at East 10th Street and Agnes Avenue.

IPNC appreciates partners like their local Salvation Army at 3013 E 9th street, which has free boys’ basketball ages 10-15 on Tuesdays from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. The Salvation Army also has free help with job searches, resume building, and a computer lab, available on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or by appointment. The Salvation Army also hosts Celebrate Recovery Meetings on Saturdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.