30/30 Vision

As part of a yearlong reporting commitment, KCUR is looking at where the region has come over the last 30 years; where our current path would land us in 30 years; and what could be a new course set by the next generation of leaders.

What do you think Kansas City will look like in 30 years? Share your vision with us.

Have a story idea for this project? Email news@kcur.org.

Kevin Collison / KCUR 89.3

It’s been 30 years since metropolitan Kansas City’s beltway, Interstate 435, was completed, and its important role as a route for economic development has been a tale of two states.

In southern Johnson County, where the first leg of I-435 opened between I-35 and Metcalf Avenue in 1965, smart planning by local and state leaders has made the I-435 corridor that area’s bustling main street.

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City's curbside recycling program started in 2004. Since then, our diversion rates, as in the measurement of how much trash we are keeping from the landfills has stayed consistently around the in the 25-30 percent range. The goal is to reach an 80 percent diversion rate by 2020. We're a ways off, but regional experts remain optimistic. 

"We are recycling much more than the numbers show," says Marleen Leonce.

Photo illustration by BigStock Images

Ask food critic Charles Ferruzza what restaurants in Kansas City might look like in 30 years, and he envisions places where “farm-to-table” has gone to the extreme.

“Can you see the day people will come in with their very own sorghum from their backyard and ask you to cook it?” Ferruzza asked chef Ted Habiger on a recent episode of Central Standard

Kansas City has made quite a name for itself as a foodie town. We're internationally known for our barbecue, and our chefs are getting nominated for James Beard awards.

But it wasn't always this way. We used to call ourselves a cowtown, back when steakhouses were our specialty, and only vacations held the promise of 'adventurous' food. So how did we did make it onto the map as an emerging food town, up on, even ahead of, the latest trends?

Guests: 

Just what is a “Smart City?” 

If you've been paying attention since Google rolled out its first-in-the-country high speed internet in the Kansas City area five years ago,  you're probably familiar with smart city technology.

As the city prepares to roll out the second phase of the project, we wanted to see wanted to see what's happened so far.

What we found  are a lot of questions from  citizens and even the project's promoters.

Downtown: The epicenter

Why get married? Once, there was a time where that might have seemed like a silly question. But now, many people can tell you exactly why not. We examine how marriage has been changing over the last few decades ... and what it might look like in the future.

Guests:

 

C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

As part of our 30/30 Vision series, KCUR takes a look at three of Kansas City’s grandest ideas from the last 30 years. We also looked at magnet schools and the Wizard of Oz theme park.

Courtesy The Goddard Group

As part of our 30/30 Vision series, KCUR takes a look at three of Kansas City’s grandest ideas from the last 30 years.

We also looked at magnet schools and the world-class aquarium

Summer Fun

Aug 11, 2016

What did you do in the summer as a kid? How important is it that kids learn something and stay busy ... or get fresh air? As summer draws to a close, we explore how summer vacation is changing.

Guests:

Missouri Valley Special Collections / Kansas City Public Library

As part of our 30/30 Vision series, KCUR takes a look at three of Kansas City’s grandest ideas from the last 30 years. Here's the first:

When Russell G. Clark died in 2004, The Kansas City Star noted that the former U.S. District Judge had endured death threats over his effort “to transform the Kansas City School District.” Clark had ordered the district and the state of Missouri to “wipe out segregation.”

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

For Rachel MacPhee, co-owner of Kansas City-based Ribbon Events, weddings are the bread and butter of her business. And she sees a lot of different clients, from older couples to a pair who are just 20 years old.

"We have someone that's still in college, we also have a couple that have two kids and two more are on the way," MacPhee says.

Though typically, she says, clients are in their late 20s.

Pokémon Go has taken Kansas City by storm. As Pokémon pop up around us, we chat about how video games have changed us, and we discuss the distinction between virtual reality and augmented reality. Then we let our guests and listeners get back to their quests to "catch 'em all."

Guests: 

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Black Bob Elementary is one of Olathe’s flagship schools. It’s in the middle of the city, surrounded by neighborhoods, and just a few blocks away, there's a big shopping center with  a Starbucks and Walgreens.

But it didn’t always look that way. Dr. Alison Banikowski, deputy superintendent of Olathe Schools, remembers what the city looked like when she first arrived in 1982. 

“I served for the first year I was here with Blackbob Elementary, and it was really literally out in a field,”

Kevin Collison for KCUR

Lawyer Mike White remembers the community reaction in 1984 to the first tax-increment financing project in Kansas City.

“It was pretty much a yawner,” he said. “No one knew what TIF was.”

More than 30 years later, TIF may be almost as well-known an acronym as the IRS in Kansas City, and in some quarters, equally unpopular.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

The historic district at 18th and Vine in Kansas City, Missouri , a half mile east of the flourishing Crossroads Arts District , is itself at a crossroads.    

Again. 

The city will soon hold hearings on a $28 million dollar package of renovations. Projects include improvements for the Negro Leagues and American Jazz Museums, the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey and beautification projects.

Alex Smith / KCUR

On Sunday mornings at the Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, prayers that are quietly murmured in most churches seem to almost rumble like thunder.

Thousands of congregants crowd the huge suburban auditorium for weekly services, which feature huge video monitors, an orchestra and a full choir. With 20,000 members, it’s the largest Methodist church in the United States.  

Amy Mogharbel, 30, says attending services here took some getting used to.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Parade Park in the 18th and Vine district will get a new look next year with the completion of the Major League Baseball’s Urban Youth Academy. It’s aimed at motivating more kids to play baseball and softball, but some are hoping it along with a proposed $27 million investment from the city could revitalize the historic area.  

Finding the next Lorenzo Cain

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

After $102 million and more than five years of design, construction and testing, Kansas City is about to get a taste of streetcars again.

The 2.2 mile starter line marks the first time the city has brought back public rail transit since 1957, when the historic line was shuttered. For KC Streetcar Authority Executive Director Tom Gerend, the process has already been worth the effort.

Courtesy Photo, Steve Paul

In many ways, Kansas City is a different city than it was 30 years ago. But in some ways, it’s the same.

Take it from two people whose job has been to write about it for the last three decades or so.

Editorial page writers Barbara Shelly and Steve Paul recently took buyouts at The Kansas City Star after 32 and 41-year-careers at the paper, respectively.

Jasssmit - CillanXC - kkeithphoto / Creative Commons

When it comes to metros that Kansas City considers its competition for business, population growth, conventions and prestige: Forget about St. Louis. We left that rivalry behind in the last century.

People whose job it is to keep KC competitive point to Nashville, Denver, Charlotte, Minneapolis and Louisville as among our chief 21st century opponents.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

The unfolding lead crisis in Flint, Michigan, has put tap water in the spotlight.

Unlike Flint, Kansas City has few lead pipes. But it has its share of aging infrastructure.

“Well, our first sewer dates back to the Civil War,” says Terry Leeds, director of KC Water Services. “Our oldest water mains that we think we have in service date back to 1874 in the City Market.”

Jake Joslyn for KCUR 89.3

In case you blinked, today is April 1, 2046.

The Royals opener is next week. The team is hoping to recreate that glorious season from 31 years ago. So here at KCUR 89.3, we’re looking back three decades to see how much has changed in Kansas City since the last time we were World Series champs.

The biggest turning point for our region happened on July 19, 2035, on Kaw Point Beach. Mayor Alex Gordon signed the Mo-Kan Unified Government charter, creating a single metropolitan area across state line.