Across the Kansas City area, communities are debating the drawbacks and benefits of having the world's largest retailer as a neighbor: Walmart. First we drop in on Lee’s Summit, where residents at a recent city council meeting debated concerns over traffic holdups and added crime in Walmart’s vicinity.
As part of KCUR’s coverage on area Walmarts and their effect on local communities, we continue with a report in Waldo, at the site of the Bingham Junior High School property. The school was vacated in 2001, and has been an eyesore for many area residents ever since. The Kansas City School District accepted several proposals for development of the property, before bringing an offer for a Walmart Neighborhood Market before the community in January. That sparked a wave of responses from residents and the Waldo Business Association.
In our third locale, in Northeast Johnson County, two suburban cities were competing for Walmart to be their tenant. The move of one Walmart Supercenter from Roeland Park, less than one mile south, to the Mission Gateway Development site is impacting residents and area businesses, the Roeland Park Police Department, and the city sales tax.
Back in 2010, Walmart announced it would double the amount of local produce it sold in stores by 2015. Two years early, the company has already exceeded that goal and claims to source 11% of its produce sold in the U.S. from local farms. Walmart defines local as grown and sold in the same state. Hear an interview with the corporate side of Walmart on its local food initiative, and how that is playing out in the Midwest.
Kansas City is the home base for several big religious organizations, like the Church of the Nazarene and the Community of Christ Latter-Day Saints Church. But KC also boasts being the hometown of a saint. The Self-Realization Fellowship, an international meditation group with roots in India, recognizes a late Kansas City business tycoon as one of its greatest yogis and spiritual masters.
This summer, for the first time since 1856, wheat will no longer be traded here in Kansas City. The CME Group bought the Kansas City Board of Trade last October. Recently, the company announced it would move all wheat trading to Chicago starting in July.
Over the next six months, a quiet Midtown laundromat known for its community atmosphere will be transformed into a venue for a series of arts events. Byproduct: The Laundromat is an experiment in combining different genres including film, poetry, and even culinary arts, focused on public-oriented artwork.