Thursday, April 25, 2013

First Post

I always knew I’d wind up in Kansas City.  As a kid growing up a couple hundred miles down the turnpike, KC was the place where the parents of my wealthy friends took them shopping on weekends.  It was a place where we occasionally went on vacations; to Worlds of Fun, to see the then dominant Royals, and to eat at the wonderfully labyrinthine Stephenson's Apple Farm.

I remember the first time I came to Kansas City.   I was 6 or 7, so the memories are kind of hazy.  My dad worked for IBM at the time, and was frequently in KC for meetings.  One summer day he brought my mom along, too.  The IBM office was next to Crown Center, interestingly, only a short walk from where I work now.  We stayed at one of the nearby hotels, and while Dad was in his meetings, my mom and I went for a walk in Penn Valley Park.  Having never been there before, we got lost.  It was very hot and I remember we were quite thirsty. This was in the 70's, long before bottled water, so we didn't bring anything to drink.   We figured we'd come across a water fountain sooner or later, but no.  Typical of KC parks at that time, I’m told.  Thankfully we made it back to the hotel.  I don't think we ventured out again until we left for home. 

Later in life, we were in town when the sky-walk collapsed at the Hyatt.  I remember the news story vividly.  At first I worried that it had happened at our hotel, but thankfully we were staying at the Adam’s Mark out by the stadium.  Even still, to a 10 year old, it was scary stuff.

With those mildly scarey recollections, you might think that I would be less fond of KC, but that couldn't be further from the truth. I've had so many great times here, and seen the city change alongside me.  I have, over the years, seen Zona Rosa Rise from a field, a NASCAR track, a professional soccer stadium and a major regional shopping district pop up in an area better known for the Ren Fest.  I’ve seen destination shopping come to our area with two Bass Pros, a Cabela's, and soon an REI and Scheel’s Flagship store.  I’ve seen the rise, crash and resurgence of the 135th street retail corridor and the sad removal of White Haven Motor Lodge in Overland Park.

Those changes, as well as others, some good, some bad, have brought us to where we are today, but what do I see for the future?

A renewed spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation leading the way to an even brighter future. I see a more prosperous East side of town emerging from the long standing grip of neglect and blight. I see a city government finally emerged from infighting and dysfunction that will continue to strive to make KC a great American city. It's a bright future, although I'm sure it won't be one free of conflict and struggle. Even still, I believe that Kansas City is, and will continue to be, a place where many other creative, talented and motivated people want to wind up.