One veteran businessperson along Kansas City's Prospect Avenue took a very personal interest this week in a celebration of a multi-million dollar community development project along his blighted strip of the boulevard.
Kenneth W. Bledsoe went to work with his father right out of Central High School at Bledsoe’s Rental Company at 50th and Prospect. The business was founded in 1945 thanks to start-up property and inventory provided by Mr. Bledsoe. Managers eventually bought the spinoff businesses from Bledsoe; no franchise fees or reimbursement required.
Bledsoe’s 50-year-old son was murdered during a daytime robbery at the store last spring, but that only heightens his optimism about the corridor’s potential turn around. This week the Blue Hills Community Services Center kicked off construction on a 3.1 million dollar community center just down the street from Bledsoe, one of several new projects along Prospect.
KCUR's Susan B. Wilson recently sat down with Bledsoe to talk about his business, and what the Prospect corridor was like decades ago.