Checking In: What’s New in the Heart of Westport Neighborhood?

Home in the Heart of Westport neighborhood of Kansas City

Well-kept homes along Central Street are a thriving part of the Heart of Westport neighborhood.

Most people have never heard of the Heart of Westport Neighborhood, but its members have been actively building community for the past several years. Heart of Westport encompasses the area behind the Westport post office. It’s a geographically compact neighborhood surrounded by the ever-changing Westport entertainment environment. Yet the Heart of Westport is thriving because of a committed group of neighbors.

Chairman Tom Platt lives in the Heart of Westport and has watched its changes over the years. Platt’s father owned the building on the northeast corner of Westport Road and Broadway, home to popular restaurants such as Tempters, the Beautiful Day Café and The Corner Restaurant.

“I want to make sure Westport stays stable,” he says. “It’s important for me to be one of the stable persons in Westport.”

There have been other neighborhood associations in the area in the past, but the Heart of Westport has put together a diverse mix of stakeholders.

  • Single family residents who are fixing up Central and Wyandotte Streets, which the neighborhood association helped to “downzone” several years ago. Downzoning often leads to more stability by attracting single families and discouraging the breaking up  of houses into separate apartments.
  • Redeemer Church at 3921 Baltimore, an inter-denominational church that is committed to improving the neighborhood around it. The church is currently holding sports clinics for neighborhood kids and hosting picnic-style community meals.
  • Apartment renters from 39th Street are encouraged to join in neighborhood activities and work on neighborhood issues.
  • Local businesses are becoming involved as well.

Platt thinks the key to continued stability is adding more places for people to live. “The more residents we have in the neighborhood, the more it helps Midtown and Westport in general,” he says. He’s excited about plans for an additional 118 apartment units being built at 39th and Central. That project also calls for the demolition of the former XO Club, a sometimes loud and raucous place that neighbors fought to close down. The neighborhood has been working  successfully to reduce the number of panhandlers in the area around the Westport library and post office. Platt hopes more people will see the advantages of living in the Heart of Westport.

“When you look at it, we have the post office, a library, churches and Mario’s. You can walk to the Main Street and 39th Street bus lines. You can also walk to the restaurants in Westport,” he says.

By the way, Heart of Westport has the highest Walk Score of any neighborhood in Midtown.

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