Community Gathers To Talk About A New Cultural District

Feb 6, 2015

(at right) Seft Hunter, president of the Historic Manheim Park Association, talked with area residents on Thursday at the Bancroft School Apartments.
Credit Laura Spencer / KCUR

A three-day public planning charrette — a workshop exploring the potential of a new cultural district — wraps up on Saturday afternoon. For the last few months, community volunteers in work teams have met to generate ideas about what this district could look like. 

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art unveiled concepts last year for a cultural district, roughly stretching from 39th Street to 55th Street, from Main to Paseo. The idea is to link neighborhoods, museums, schools and green space — with pedestrian bridges, and new construction.

Seft Hunter is the president of the historic Manheim Park Association. He says the neighborhood offered the renovated Bancroft School's auditorium as a place to meet east of Troost. More than 100 people filled the seats for the opening session on Thursday. 

"We've had a number of conversations with the Nelson," says Hunter. "The folks who were putting together these conversations...were really interested in truly beginning the process of bridging the east-west divide."

Hunter says conversations like this are an important part of the process. But, as a plan takes shape, he says it will need some follow-through. 

"I do think it’s critically important to identify some tangible action steps and next steps that can actually be accomplished," he says. 

A public workshop takes place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday at the Bancroft School Apartments, 4300 Tracy, Kansas City, Mo.. A group discussion is scheduled for noon. 

Work teams will continue to meet in March and April. A presentation to the public is expected in May.