Packed room tells city what is good, could be better about Midtown

It was standing room only last evening as people turned out for the kickoff of the Midtown Plaza area plan process.

People from across the planning area –31st to 55th, State Line to Paseo – packed the meeting at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church to share their opinions.

Residents put dots on the map to show where they live and work.

The city is developing area plans for 18 areas of the city. When completed, the Midtown-Plaza Plan will, under the policy frame work of the FOCUS Kansas City Plan, will guide decisions related to future land use, zoning, public improvements, transportation, housing, and economic development for the area.

The focus of last night’s meeting was to get input from residents about why they live in Midtown, what could make Midtown better and what they’d like to see in the future. The planners said the answers to those questions would guide the structure of the planning process moving forward. There will be working groups dedicated to important issues identified by the participants of the kick-off meeting.

Some of the major themes that emerged from the small group discussions included:

  • People live, work and do business in Midtown because they enjoy the economic, racial and land use diversity. 
  • Having multiple transportation options is extremely important. Participants said they value the various transportation options in the area, but would like to see enhancements in bike infrastructure and walkability. Several said they support streetcars coming to Midtown in the second phase of the downtown streetcar project.
  • The plan needs to address the tensions between land uses that often arise in Midtown. 
  • People said they value historic structures and buildings and the history of Midtown. They would like for the plan to balance new development with an eye toward keeping the historic character of the neighborhoods intact. They also want to preserve historic properties.
  • Midtowners value localness. They like small local businesses and want to encourage their growth. They like being able to attend events and find music and go to restaurants in their neighborhoods. They talked about the small town feeling of Midtown.
  • Providing better schools is a key to attracting and keeping residents.
  • They are concerned about deteriorating infrastructure and loss of affordable housing.
  • The city needs to build upon previous planning efforts instead of starting from scratch. 
  • The new plan should contain guiding principles for the future development of Midtown.

Previous posts

Midtowners already weighing in online on Midtown/Plaza plan

Residents invited to give input on Midtown/Plaza future

Planning underway for revised Midtown/Plaza area plan to shape future decisions