I was born and raised in Kansas City. While I have had many opportunities to travel and visit other cities, it’s always great to come back to KC. I grew up in Kansas City, MO, one block from Kansas. For all of my married life, I have owned 3 houses in Kansas, all just a few blocks from Missouri.
I saw Overland Park when it ended at 75th & I35 or at 95th & Metcalf. To get to our first house, I had to go down a 2 lane road (119th Street), and when I stopped at 119th & Roe, it was fun to see a horse farm where the Apple store and Crate & Barrel are now. For the last 30 years I have been involved in commercial brokerage, where I have leased, sold, built and owned numerous properties, mostly in Johnson County.
And our children had grown up and moved out of our house, my wife and I decided that maybe it was time to move closer into the City. So we bought a house in Old Leawood, and moved closer into “town”.
So while I love new development, its been fun to re-explore Kansas City. Last weekend my wife and I decided to buzz over to Brookside and have a light breakfast at the Roasterie. As we sipped on our coffee and munched on a croissant, we both looked up and saw a true neighborhood. There were joggers, and bicyclists and parents with their baby strollers, and people with their dogs.
I looked up and there were houses to the North and across Brookside Boulevard. And it dawned on me that Brookside wouldn’t be allowed to be built today. Every City planner has been taught that there is no way people would buy a single family home across from retail. There must be a buffer of apartments or duplexes.
Also, all buildings should match each other in color and design. The signs must match. Let’s design retail buildings that could be in Kansas, Missouri, or California or any other state in the Country.
As developers and planners look to create the new urbanism, and are indeed having some success (Prairie Fire and Park Place). They should maybe take a long look at the designs of the past.
Clearly people do love to live, work, and shop in a true neighborhood.