Cody Newill / KCUR

Kansas City's downtown streetcar made its first powered run along its 2.3 mile route early Thursday.

KC Streetcar Authority workers tested visibility for streetcar operators and made sure the vehicle maintains contact with overhead electric lines.

Streetcar spokeswoman Meghan Jansen says maintenance crews would monitor the car and take notes as they go from the Singleton Yard maintenance facility south to Union Station and back.

Paul Sableman / Flickr

If white flight is making a u-turn and the suburbs are seeing an influx of black residents, are we becoming any more integrated, or are we just trading places?


Kyle Palmer / KCUR

Few will argue against the notion that the Royals' recent run to a World Series title has been a good thing for Kansas City. The New York Times is lauding the metro's "resurgence" and newfound "swagger." Deadspin is fawning over the record-breaking turnout at Tuesday's victory parade. 

City of Kansas City

It's been a long 30 years since the Royals last earned the title "World Champions," but Sunday's 7-2 victory over the New York Mets has put Kansas City back in the winning mood.

To keep the good vibes flowing, the city has decided to hold a parade and celebration Tuesday to honor the boys in blue. Since it's been a generation since the last local World Series parade, we decided it might help to give Kansas Citians a quick primer on the ins and outs of the party.

Crossroads Academy

One of the more successful charter schools in Kansas City says it plans to open a second campus in time for the next school year.

Crossroads Academy is on Central Street just around the corner from the main branch of the Kansas City Public Library.

It opened in 2012, has doubled in size since that time and now educates about 350 students.

Executive Director Dean Johnson says the school will look for a building to buy downtown that will eventually serve about 400 students in  kindergarten through eighth grades.

Hyatt Hotels

As the Kansas City Council struggles with whether to honor a successful petition drive for a public vote on a planned downtown convention hotel, developers tell the council a delay for the election could be a deal-breaker.

Among the stakeholders in a lengthy Thursday presentation to city council members was Steven Rattner, a finance specialist with the developer of the 800-room hotel. Rattner rold the council that the developer began spending significant time and money on the project in May, after a detailed agreement was signed with the city.

Kansas City leaders face a big decision when it comes to the new downtown convention hotel. A group of petitioners challenging Kansas City’s plan for a the hotel has sufficient signatures to seek a public vote, and new members of city council are questioning the process of the deal. 


  • Dan Coffey is with Citizens for Responsible Government, the organization behind the petition. 
  • Quinton Lucas is the at-large councilman for Kansas City's 3rd District.
Hyatt Hotels

Faced with the prospect of a lawsuit from petitioners if a referendum on a new downtown hotel does not go on the ballot, Kansas City council members worry that more costly lawsuits could result if they honor the 1,700 petition signatures filed. 

The outgoing city council approved the deal on the $311 million, 800-room hotel in July.  The deal involves $164 million in city participation, but the commitment does not add to the city's debt load, and City Manager Troy Schulte says all city cash obligations would come from tourism taxes, not from the general fund.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Hundreds of firefighters and spectators took part in the fifth annual Kansas City 9-11 Memorial Stair Climb on Sunday, despite a bomb threat made last week.

Bagpipes and drums echoed throughout the halls of downtown's Town Pavilion as 343 firefighters from eight states suited up and climbed the 38 -story building three times in a row in memory of those killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Each firefighter had the picture of one of the 343 New York City firefighters who died at the World Trade Center taped to their backs.

courtesy of the artist

If you’ve driven through downtown Kansas City recently, you’ve probably seen the orange cones from the streetcar construction. But what about that blue petticoat at the top of a street sign, or the brightly colored quilts wrapped around bus shelters? 

Art installations and performances return this summer to Kansas City's downtown loop. 

"Everyone get in their starting positions," calls out dancer Maura Garcia, as she shakes a rattle. 

Cody Newill / KCUR

After a year of construction, crews have finally completed laying Kansas City's downtown streetcar tracks. 

More than 100 people showed up to the project's "River Market Rail Rally" Wednesday, which celebrated the streetcar's progress, as well as new artwork that will be showcased on two other stops in the River Market neighborhood near downtown.

  It's been estimated that Kansas City has lost out on $3 billion worth of business over the last ten years because of convention commerce that’s vanished. The city’s proposed downtown convention hotel is supposed to be the answer, but is the $302 million project going to deliver the economic impact it promises?


  • Steve Vockrodt is a reporter for The Pitch.
  • Patrick Tuohey is the Western Missouri Field Manager for the Show-Me Institute.
Briana O'Higgins / KCUR

The thought of being locked in a small room with a bunch of math and logic problems might trigger some uncomfortable flashbacks to a 7th grade math test, but for two new businesses in Kansas City's River Market, that's the whole point.

Breakout Kansas City and Escape Room Kansas City both opened up within a few weeks of each other, and they're bringing an unusual experience to the metro area.

Hyatt Hotels

Plans for an 800-room, $300 million downtown convention hotel continues to advance at a whirlwind pace. 

The full Kansas City council approved the basics of the deal Thursday, including a contribution of $13 million in city-owned land and $35 million in cash. 

Mayor Sly James said the hotel was part of his pre-election vision, but the plan is not about personal aggrandizement. 

“This was done because everybody on this council, I think, agrees that this was something we needed to get done,” he said.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

A Kansas City Council committee gave initial approval to a plan for a new downtown convention hotel Wednesday.

The city's Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Committee approved an outline for a $300 million, 800-room Hyatt hotel. The plan puts the city on the hook for $35 million, which would come from the city's existing tourism funds that currently go to Kemper Arena.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Kansas City's downtown streetcar line is on schedule for its tracks to be fully laid out by mid-summer, according to streetcar officials.

KC Streetcar spokeswoman Donna Mandelbaum says that construction is coming to a head just under a year after the city officially broke ground on the project.

"This summer we'll see the completion of track construction, we'll be finished up on the electrical systems and our station stop construction," Mandelbaum said. "We really are in the home stretch now."

Dan Wood / Vimeo-CC

A wise man once said, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." 

Luckily, there are two time-lapse videos of Kansas City's sights that will help you stop and look around our beautiful city. The first came out late last year, and the second just a few days ago.

Be sure to keep some tissues handy if you're the sentimental type:

Billy Krest / Imgur

Billy Krest is a self admitted "road porn" enthusiast. (Author's note: be careful typing that phrase into a search engine.) He also loves playing SimCity, a game that allows players to create their own virtual towns and metropolises.

Patrick Quick / KCUR

Kansas City’s downtown is like an adolescent going through an awkward phase.

It’s part of growing up, and we’re excited about where things are headed, but the process is at turns uncomfortable and confusing.

File the parking situation  under “uncomfortable.” That was the basis for Thursday’s conversation on Central Standard.

Patrick Quick / KCUR

Downtown Kansas City is practically half parking lots--so why is it so hard to find a spot on a First Friday in the Crossroads? The availability and cost of parking could be key ingredients to developing a vibrant downtown.


Missouri Valley Special Collection / Kansas City Public Library

A fire at the historic Hotel Savoy in downtown Kansas City, Mo., late Thursday damaged several floors of the building, which used to be known as a frequent stop for several U.S. presidents.

Firefighters told KSHB 41 Action News that the fire started due to "inattentive cooking" in the Savoy Grill. There were no customers in the restaurant at the time. Residents of the apartments above evacuated without injury. 

Jean / Flickr, Creative Commons

A recent article in the New York Times compiled a growing body of evidence suggesting that the more frequent our interactions with strangers, the happier we tend to be. The findings apply to introverts and extroverts alike. In response to the enthusiasm around that article, Central Standard asked whether the people of Kansas City encounter strangers often enough in their day-to-day lives. Does Kansas City's built environment facilitate or prohibit these kinds of interactions?

Theresa L Wysocki / flickr

Several downtown office buildings near 11th and Main in Kansas City, Mo. have been evacuated. 

Downtown Kansas City, Missouri voters approved a special tax to fund a two-mile streetcar route in downtown Kansas City, although fewer than 500 people voted.