Living in Midtown is always met with questions in suburb-heavy Kansas City. Why should someone consider living in Midtown?
Living in the Southmoreland Neighborhood, Midtown is our home. We can’t imagine living anywhere else. We think everyone should put Midtown on their list of options when looking for a home. Ask anyone here, and they could probably tell you ten reasons why they’re here. No one sells Midtown like Midtown.
When we sell Midtown, we have a lot to talk about:
Neighborhoods. Midtown has established, historic neighborhoods that are lively and that are rich in character. Each neighborhood is connected in different ways with a social and practical fabric.
Diverse Housing Stock. There is a wide variety of housing in Midtown, for different needs and budgets. Investors and rehabbers also have a lot to choose from. You can find anything from a traditional house with a yard for the dog, to an empty nest condo, to an affordable studio apartment. You can also find beautifully enormous homes that may have once housed a historic Kansas City family.
Livable Streets. Midtown is a classic mixed use area, with a lot packed into its land mass. It is walkable and bikeable, and it has activity happening day and night.
Live Music. Midtown has a diverse array of music venues. You can find live music every night of the week in whatever flavor you like. Big names and most local talent comes through Midtown.
Parks. Public parks string many Midtown neighborhoods together, and make for a beautiful alternative to the streets. They are cared for and used most times of the year.
Public Transit. Every Midtown neighborhood is near public transportation of some sort, whether it is a bus, a bicycle or maybe a trolley. And it is easy and affordable to get a cab.
Growth. People are living here, investing here, and planting roots here. Commercial redevelopment is happening, and it appears that City Hall appreciates the value of Midtown.
In the Middle. Midtown rests at the heart of activity in Kansas City. It is exciting to be able to walk from home to major concerts, civic events, iconic restaurants and world class museums.
With all its high points, Midtown is a fun sell. Like Kansas City, it is large enough, but small enough that one person can have an impact. It has classic urban features, small town familiarity and a lot to talk about.
Lauren and Scott are with Lauren Hruby Real Estate, Keller Williams Realty Key Partners, LLC. They work with people looking to sell or buy a home in the Kansas City area. For more information, visit www.laurenhruby.com or call 816-529-6174.
Kelly’s Pub in Westport is featured in a new book on distinctive Irish bars, and the authors will be in town Friday, Dec. 6 for a book signing.
Authors Robert Meyers and Ron Wallace visited Irish pubs across the country, and decided Kelly’s is one of the best.
Their new 335-page book, Irish Pubs in America: History, Lore and Recipes, was released this week. The two will be in Kelly’s this Friday (Dec. 6) from 5-8 p.m. to unveil the book, sign copies, and christen them with a cold one.
Here’s a little history on Kelly’s.
Randal Kelly, the Irish immigrant who took over the landmark pre-Civil War building at Westport Road and Pennsylvania Street in the late 1940s, referred to his friendly beer joint that welcomed everyone from famous artists and politicians, to all-night bakers at the old Manor Bread factory next door, as “the Poor Man’s Playground.”
Randal Kelly passed away in 1988, but the pub remains in the family and is operated today by brothers Pat and Kyle Kelly and Kyle’s daughter, Colleen, and son, Mitch.
In their book, Meyers and Wallace call Kelly’s “An inspirational story of how one Irish immigrant, blessed with personality and perseverance, came to America, married, raised a family and established one of the most successful Irish pubs in the oldest building in Kansas City.”
Copies of Irish Pubs in America are available in Kansas City at Kelly’s and at select Irish shops and book stores.
That’s because of a new event, the Santa Dash, where all of the runners will be dressed as the jolly guy. The run begins Saturday morning at 10 a.m. at the intersection of Westport Road and Pennsylvania Avenue.
According to the event summary, each participant gets his or her own Santa suit.
There’s also an elf dash for those aged 12 and under. Elf hats included.
- Saturday, Dec. 7, 10 a.m.
- Westport Road and Pennsylvania Avenue
- Race info
Rolling road closures will begin at 9:30 a.m. along the following race route: north on Pennsylvania Avenue, east on 34th Street, south on Broadway Road, east on 34th Street, south on Baltimore Avenue, west on Archibald Street, south on Pennsylvania Avenue, southwest on Wornall Road, west on 43rd Street, north on Jefferson Street, east on Westport Road, and north on Pennsylvania Avenue back to the starting point.
There’s good news from the Save the Tivoli campaign.
As you may remember, the Westport independent movie theater was in danger of going out of business this month, needing to convert its projection system to digital.
The theater appealed to movie lovers through the crowdfunding site Kickstarter, hoping to raise $130,000 by Dec. 12.
Owner Jerry Harrington announced on the Kickstarter site that the fundraiser worked, and fans of the Tivoli contributed more than enough money to reach the goal.
“We’re thrilled at what’s been accomplished, humbled by the kind responses and very excited about what’s to come,” he wrote on the Kickstarter site.
The theater can now buy two additional projection systems to join the one it has already purchased.
The Kickstarter campaign is still active until Dec. 12, and Harrington says all contributions will continue to go toward the theater upgrades.
“We will revisit it another time, hopefully next week but I can’t guarantee that,” said Councilman John Sharp, committee chairman.
Police have not used the lights for tickets since Nov. 6, after a state appeals court ruling in the St. Louis area went against them.
City officials recently prepared legal changes to counter that ruling but then the appeals court in Kansas City ruled that the city ordinance was invalid.
Both rulings state that such city laws violate state law because points are not assessed against driver licenses for moving violations.
On Wednesday, police and Sharp made it clear that police have stepped up regular enforcement at the 17 intersections covered by red light cameras.
Sharp said people should not think the camera situation means they “can just blow through the intersection.”
He also warned officer tickets are tougher: “If an officer sees it, it is a point violation.”
And Sharp said drivers must come to a complete stop, “not one of those rolling stops.”
In other matters, Capt. Mike Woods reported police are hiring six more people to enforce parking primarily from the river to 85th Street.
On a positive note, the number of traffic fatalities stands at 53 compared to 65 at this time last year.
About 8 out of 10 of those who died in the accidents were men and 67 percent of them were not wearing seat belts, Woods said.
“A lot of these crashes would have been walk-away, non-injury accidents if the people had been wearing seat belts,” he said.
The number of rear end accidents is up, he said, probably because so many drivers are looking at cellphones, talking on them, texting or checking email or sometimes dropping them and then reaching for them.
City streetcars operated by 2,000 drivers once connected the area like a tight spider web.
Only about four of those drivers are still alive, and Harold Ambroius, 88, says he is the oldest of them.
His house in Waldo, where he and his late wife raised three children, brims with streetcar memorabilia.
Car models top his TV. Photo albums of streetcar pictures and newspaper clips fill his drawers.
A framed picture on the wall: He and his father, also a driver, standing in front of a streetcar. And his grandfather drove the cars.
As a child, he drove toy streetcars he made out of crates, even painted numbers on them. In his stories of real streetcars now, he recites their car numbers.
The last one he ran was the 780. He also drove the 551, and he was there when it was first displayed in its home now outside Union Station.
He was just 22 when he got out of the Navy in 1946 and got a streetcar driver job. There were 32 lines then, almost 2,000 drivers. The metro area – the cars ran in Johnson County and KCK then – had among the most miles of line in the nation.
“I never dreamed as a young buck that they would do away with the streetcars in 11 years,” he said.
But they did in 1957. He spent 33 more years driving buses, but said they were not as satisfying for him or his passengers. Why?
“The clickedly-clack of the tracks or what,” he said, “I don’t know.”
He remembers the sad experiment with cars numbered from 701 to 724. The doors on them opened out instead of in, which was unfortunate on busy streets.
Driving streetcars could get hairy in other ways, he said. “You can’t dodge things on a streetcar.”
A big coal truck mangled another driver’s car, he said, and his father once hit a horse. Big trucks would also park on the tracks to unload, delaying the streetcars.
But the worst for him was young men in fast cars, he said. “They used to play chicken, driving the car right up to the streetcar like they were going to hit it.”
In 1990, when he retired, his bosses tried to convince him to stay because they wanted him to train people on streetcars. They thought then the cars would be coming back soon.
And still no streetcars, but with them set to return downtown in fall of 2015, Ambroius is becoming a bridge to the past. City officials had him at a recent ceremony, and he was on the front page of the Kansas City Star.
If he is alive when streetcars are reborn, he said, he will ride them and there might be ceremonial duties to perform.
He’s ready. He still goes to the gym five times a week.
The mayor is bragging on Kansas City and offering advice on entrepreneurism in Forbes.
James and Kauffman Foundation Director of Research and Policy Dana Strangler have written an opinion piece called What Cities Can Do to Boost Entrepreneurism.
The article offers some advice for mayors, city managers, council members and others in supporting and building up startup communities.
“In Kansas City, Mo., the word “entrepreneur” is used by city leadership (including one of us, Mayor James), more times in one month than others do in an entire year, and the city has become a champion of local startup efforts.”
But, they say, there’s no place for city leaders to come together and share lessons learned. That’s why James and the Kauffman Foundation started the first-ever Mayors Conference on Entrepreneurship this year.
“The geographic dispersion of high-technology companies and employment in the United States has been widening over the past two decades, particularly to places such as Indianapolis, Kansas City and Salt Lake City that offer a high quality of life at reasonable cost. Even highly skilled workers need affordable places to live, and they are being increasingly priced out of Silicon Valley and Boston because of restrictive land use regulation,” they wrote.
The Westport Santa Dash begins at 10 a.m. at 4050 Pennsylvania Ave. Rolling road closures will begin at 9:30 a.m. along the following race route: north on Pennsylvania Avenue, east on 34th Street, south on Broadway Road, east on 34th Street, south on Baltimore Avenue, west on Archibald Street, south on Pennsylvania Avenue, southwest on Wornall Road, west on 43rd Street, north on Jefferson Street, east on Westport Road, and north on Pennsylvania Avenue back to the starting point. More information.
The Ugly Sweater Run will begin at 11 a.m. in Washington Square Park, just north of Crown Center at 2200 Grand Blvd. Main Street will be closed beginning at 6 a.m. from East Pershing Road to East 19th Street. Rolling road closures will take place shortly before the race along the following route: north on Main Street, east on 19th Street, north on Campbell Street, west on 18th Street, north on Oak Street, west on 13th Street, south on Baltimore Avenue, east on 19th Street, south on Main Street, and back to the starting point at Washington Square. More information.
The parks department is inviting everyone to a holiday tradition, Santa’s Wonderland.
The evening includes live music, entertainment, hot chocolate, displays of lights and a visit from Santa and friends.
Friday, December 6 6-8 p.m. Gillham Park
A jazz club opens this week on Broadway, infusing more music, martinis and high cuisine into modern Midtown.
The Broadway Jazz Club at 3601 Broadway officially opens Friday and will offer live music five nights a week.
Appropriately enough, a speakeasy operated there during the city’s jazz age and it is across from the historic Ambassador Hotel (soon to be renovated), where jazz age stars performed.
Pat Hanrahan, former Jardine’s general manager, will be a partner and general manager. Neil Pollock, managing partner and owner of the new club, meshed with Hanrahan and others to create it.
Midlife crisis led to it all, Pollock said Tuesday.
He tired of 20 years of work in his advertising firm, found jobs for his employees and closed it, he said. He intended to just open a neighborhood bar.
Other principals include partner Steve Wachsberg and James Pollock and Margaret Ososky, Pollock’s uncle and aunt from Washington, D.C.
Ososky said she and her husband are retired federal foreign service workers and serious jazz fans who got involved after their nephew gave them a call.
Their investment advisor told them it was a risky business, she said, “and we said yeah, and we got into it anyway.”
On Friday, the Dan Doran Band will perform. There will be a special happy hour with drink specials from 4 to 8 p.m.
Chef Richard Martin created the menu that is called a take on Midwestern comfort foods unique to Kansas City. It includes things like pecan crusted tilapia, the Broadway jazz steakburger, steaks, seafood, pasta, sandwiches and salads with prices from $10 to $30.
Drinks include 10 signature cocktails and martinis with names like the Ella Fitzgerald, the Cab Calloway and the Billy Holiday.
Tonight, prior to official opening, the jazz bar is doing a charity event with the UMKC music conservatory for the Friends of Jazz group. The Dominique Sanders trio will play with Sanders on bass, Brian Steever on drums and Mark Lowrey on piano. The club is requesting a $25 donation at the door.