Streetcar rally celebrates progress, art

streetcar-stopMayor Sly James signed the last piece of streetcar rail Wednesday and people got a look at streetcar art.

The rail rally in the River Market area Wednesday clustered around a streetcar stop, where speeches were made and art was seen.


Mayor Sly James with artist Celina Curry.

That art was the colorful top piece of the stop shelter and is the first 1-percent-for-art project associated with the 2.2 mile streetcar line.

It is by Celina Curry, a graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute who will be doing top pieces for two more streetcar stops in the area.

James announced the end of rail installation for the project, expected to be running by early next year.

“Now Kansas City is reestablishing itself as a hub for transportation,” he said, and the downtown line is the first step.

streetcar-tracksHe credited it with already leading to $1.3 billion in downtown development either underway, planned or announced.

Sales in the River Market area are also up 14 percent this year when the streetcar is just under construction, he said.

With the rail work done and overhead work and other construction to be done soon, he said of the project, “It’s ready to rock and roll.”

The streetcars will be here in the fall, he said. “That’s going to be the last bit.”

Then he and other councilmembers signed that last small piece of rail.

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