Special Project

KCUR wants to know more about how Kansas Citians divide themselves and come together in a bi-state metropolitan area.

In the coming months, we will answer this key question: How do these geographic borders affect our daily lives in Kansas City?

KCUR will go Beyond Our Borders and spark a community conversation through social outreach and innovative journalism.

We will share the history of these lines, how the borders affect the current Kansas City experience and what’s being done to bridge or dissolve them.

HOW YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE: Volunteer to host a community listening session with KCUR. We are looking for partners to help us run neighborhood forums that will fuel the stories for Beyond Our Borders. If you are interested in KCUR visiting your community or would like to help us coordinate one of these sessions, please email Ron Jones, KCUR community engagement director, at ron@kcur.org.

STORY IDEAS: If you have tips or story ideas for Beyond Our Borders, reach out to Laura Ziegler, community engagement reporter, lauraz@kcur.org, or Briana O’Higgins, digital content editor, at briana@kcur.org.

BE A PART OF THE DIALOGUE: Use the #KCborders hashtag on Twitter to ask us questions, share Beyond Our Borders stories with your networks, raise community concerns, tell us how we’re doing and suggest opportunities for coverage. We’re all ears.

FOLLOW THE CONVERSATION: Check back at kcur.org/beyondourborders for updates. Follow us on Twitter at @kcur and on Facebook to keep a pulse on the conversation.

Pages

Beyond Our Borders
4:38 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

Things You May Not Have Known About The Kansas-Missouri State Line

State Line Road heads south from the Missouri River in the West Bottoms.
Credit Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Our research into State Line Road as part of our ongoing exploration for Beyond Our Borders turned up some interesting things about the dividing line between the two very different states in our metro.

We are pretty evenly divided as a population by the state line, and our political differences pre-date the Civil War.  

Read more
Beyond Our Borders
1:16 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Keep Your Leaves Off My Side — A Kansas City Cartoonist's Take On The Border Wars

Credit Charlie Podrebarac

Local cartoonist Charlie Podrebarac is familiar with the tensions that sometimes arise over the Kansas-Missouri state line.

He lives on the Kansas side, but has often highlighted the border conflict in his Cowtown Cartoons. He’s been penning Cowtown since 1984 for the Kansas City Star.

In his series, “soldiers” take the battlefield on State Line Road armed with leaf blowers and rakes in an ironic statement about the “border war” between Missouri and Kansas. It’s part of a series of cartoons about metropolitan Kansas City that use a leaf motif.

Read more
Beyond Our Borders
9:21 am
Fri September 19, 2014

MAPS: Demographics Show State Line Is Not A Significant Border In Kansas City

State line from 75th Street north (left), and state line from 75th Street south (right).
Credit Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service / University of Virginia

The Kansas City metropolitan area is steeped in state line rivalry.

University of Kansas Jayhawks and University of Missouri Tigers have grudges dating back to the pre-Civil War years. Jackson County, Mo., and Johnson County, Kan., are politically divided, and we even have a road called 'State Line Road' to mark which side is which. 

Read more
Beyond Our Borders
11:27 am
Thu September 18, 2014

When It Comes To Kansas City's State Line, It's Complicated

State Line Road winds through the industrial west bottoms as it divides Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kan.
Credit Alyson Raletz / KCUR

I’m someone who simply will just say "I’m from Kansas City.” But, sometimes people will ask "Kansas City, Kansas, or Kansas City, Missouri?"

Then I go into the convoluted explanation how I live in the suburbs of Kansas City, Mo., but in Kansas, not far from the state line. It gets kind of boring.

But State Line is anything but boring.

I recently found Blue Springs, Mo., resident D.J. Lee at Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que (formally known as Oklahoma Joe's) in Kansas City, Kan.

"To cross the street and be in a different state ... pretty awesome!" says Lee.

Read more
Beyond Our Borders
6:13 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

State Line Living From Rosedale's View In Kansas City, Kansas

Philip Gardos, an active member of the Rosedale Development Association, lives on State Line Road in the Kansas City, Kan., neighborhood.
Credit Alyson Raletz / KCUR

Residing on State Line Road in the Kansas City, Kan., neighborhood of Rosedale can be puzzling at times.

As a former postal worker and resident of Rosedale since 1970, Philip Gardos recalls State Line neighbors hauling their trash across the street to Missouri or Kansas to take advantage of the other side’s trash day.

He’s seen Missouri and Kansas roads just feet away from each other receive very different treatment on snow days.

Read more
Central Standard
12:40 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

We Walk The Line: What It Means To Live In A City On A State Line

This 1866 map shows the division between Kansas and Missouri at a time when western Kansas was still largely unknown to the map-makers.
Credit Johnson, A. J., Johnson's New Illustrated Family Atlas, (1864 Johnson and Ward edition) / public domain

Bistate tax proposals. Sports rivalries. Competing school districts and business poaching. So much of what happens in Kansas City comes down to our location on a state line. But we're not alone. Tune in for a roundtable of reporters from cities on state lines. 

Guests:

Read more
Beyond Our Borders
12:30 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

How The State Line Has Divided The Kansas City Metro

An aerial photograph of Kansas City, Kan. (foreground), the West Bottoms and Kaw Point (middle), and Kansas City, Mo., middle-right) taken in 2007.
Wikimedia - CC

Eds note: This look at the Missouri-Kansas state line is part of KCUR's months-long examination of how geographic borders affect our daily lives in Kansas City. KCUR will go Beyond Our Borders and spark a community conversation through social outreach and innovative journalism. 

We will share the history of these lines, how the borders affect the current Kansas City experience and what’s being done to bridge or dissolve them.

Read more
Beyond Our Borders
12:46 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

The Challenges Of Renovating Homes In Kansas City's Urban Core

Neil Rudsill and Lisa Hummel sit on the front porch of their renovated home at the corner of 36th Street and Woodland Avenue in Kansas City, Mo.
Cara McClain KCUR

Blanche Thomas wants neighbors. She has been living in the Ivanhoe neighborhood at 34th Street and Brooklyn Avenue in Kansas City, Mo., since 1956.

Back then, there was a grocery store and dry cleaners across the street. Houses stood on either side of hers. But now, the block looks different.

“It has changed 100 percent because in the block that I live in there are no houses,” Thomas says. “There are no people living on my block, only my son and I.”

The two apartment buildings across the street stand empty. Thomas bought the two lots on either side of her house.

Read more
Beyond Our Borders
11:11 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Troost Project Is A Walk Down Memory Lane

Ron Jones and his dad, George Jones.
Credit Courtesy / Ron Jones

KCUR’s Beyond Our Borders project has kicked off a year-long examination of the geographic lines that separate our region. 

Read more
Beyond Our Borders
7:43 am
Fri August 1, 2014

What Sidewalks In Troostwood Say About The Green Impact Zone

Troostwood Neighborhood Association president Wanda Taylor, pictured here with her dog Faith, says overall, the Green Impact Zone has had a positive impact on where she lives.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

The sidewalk outside of Wanda Taylor's house on Tracy Avenue in Kansas City, Mo., is cracking – it's bad enough that her dog, Faith, steps gingerly around it during an evening walk.

All of the sidewalks in Troostwood, where Taylor is neighborhood association president, used to look like this. But two years ago, the sidewalks north of 51st Street were replaced as part of the Green Impact Zone project. The fresh, new concrete is stamped "GIZ 2012."

“Now see how nice sidewalks – the difference that they make?” asks Taylor.

Read more
Tell KCUR
4:03 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Worst Things About The State Line, According To Kansas Citians

How does the state line affect your life? Tweet us at #TellKCUR.
Credit Cara McClain / KCUR

Having to file taxes in two states is the biggest drawback to the state line.

At least according to one Kansas Citian, Marge Gasnick (@gasnickmarge), who responded to our question of the week on Twitter: How does the state line affect your life?

As KCUR reporters begin to examine the state line for the next few months, part of our Beyond Our Borders project,  we wanted to hit up our audience for story ideas.

Read more
Central Standard
3:43 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

When We Talk About Troost, Are We Talking About Race?

Troost Avenue: Is it just a street like any other, or does it carry symbolic weight?
Credit Paul Sableman / Flickr, Creative Commons

To conclude KCUR's extended investigation of Troost Avenue as a border that Kansas Citians perceive as a dividing line, Central Standard asked a question that often goes unspoken. That is, when we talk about Troost, as a city, are we really talking about race?

Read more
Central Standard
2:08 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Troost As A Meme

When we talk about Troost in Kansas City, are we really talking about race? A panel of people who live, work and think on the street discuss whether our Troost meme is useful, or causes further divisions.

Guests:

Read more
Tell KCUR
4:12 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Tell KCUR: How Does The State Line Affect Your Life?

How does the state line affect your life? Tweet us your answer with the #TellKCUR hashtag.
Credit KCUR

As KCUR prepares to spend a months-long examination on issues tied to the state line in the Kansas City metropolitan area, we’re curious about the significance of this north-south border in your world.

Maybe you lost or gained a job when a company headquarters moved across the metro to another state.

Perhaps the state line makes filing taxes more difficult or easier for you. Or crossing the Kansas-Missouri border gets you cheaper gas or sales taxes.

Tell KCUR: How does the state line affect your life?

Read more
What Is That?
10:09 am
Thu July 24, 2014

What Is That? Kansas City's Vine Street Castle

Workhouse Castle located on 18th and Vine St.
Credit Esther Honig

If you’ve ever driven around the historic 18th & Vine neighborhood in downtown Kansas City, Mo., you might have noticed what looks like a castle. It appears as though it housed Missouri royalty, but in fact this four-story structure, chiseled out of yellow limestone, was originally designed as the city jail.

Built in 1897 with the title of “workhouse castle,” it held mostly petty offenders, vagrants and debtors. As a part of their sentence these inmates were required to work. Female prisoners sewed prison uniforms and the men labored for the city’s Public Works Department.

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Beyond Our Borders
9:32 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Black Churches In Kansas City Seek New Responses To Violence

St. James United Methodist Church in Kansas City, Mo., is one of an increasing number of black churches bringing on professional counselors.
Credit St. James United Methodist Church

At a recent meeting of the Ad Hoc Group Against Violent Crime, founder Alvin Brooks had a panel of teenagers describe their experiences after a sibling had been murdered.

Read more
Beyond Our Borders
4:49 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Meet The Eyes And Ears Of Kansas City's Ivanhoe Neighborhood

Florence Hayden (left) and Ida Dockary have kept tabs on their block in the Ivanhoe neighborhood in Kansas City, Mo., by meeting every month since 1980.
Credit Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Ida Dockary and Florence Hayden have seen it all during the 55 years they’ve lived on the 3800 block of the Ivanhoe neighborhood in Kansas City, Mo., just a few doors down from one another.

At 81 and 86 years old, respectively, they were there when Ivanhoe was a thriving residential and business community. They watched as U.S. Highway 71 bisected the neighborhood, eliminating whole blocks of homes. They saw their streets become infested with crime and blight, and change from a mix of races to mostly all black.

Read more
Beyond Our Borders
12:52 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

The Story Behind Kansas City's House Of Cards

As a part of a community effort to eliminate neighborhood eyesores, artists transformed this abandoned apartment building into a house of cards in 2012.
Cara McClain KCUR

Have you ever driven through the Historic Northeast neighborhood in Kansas City, Mo., and seen a building with playing cards instead of windows? 

That's the house of cards, an abandoned apartment building at 7th and Indiana streets, that community members used to create public art. After a couple of years of dormancy, there's now some renewed interest to continue the effort.

Here's the story of how that project began: 

A couple years back, the Historic Northeast neighborhood in Kansas City, Mo., had a problem.

Read more
Central Standard
4:50 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Transforming Ivanhoe

Ivanhoe is a neighborhood on Kansas City’s east side with a rich history. Though recent decades have brought on hard times, the community, led by spokeswoman Margaret May, has rallied to restore its former glory. Some residents are frustrated by vacant houses on their blocks, while others love the new farmer’s market and point–with a sigh of relief—to reduced crime rates.

Read more
Beyond Our Borders
3:45 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

How Residents Turned Things Around In Kansas City's Ivanhoe Neighborhood

Margaret May helped host KCUR's community listening session with the Ivanhoe neighborhood.
Credit Alyson Raletz / KCUR

Few neighborhoods in Kansas City. Mo., have faced as many problems as the Ivanhoe neighborhood in the city's urban core.

Crime, drug houses, frequent vacancy, and trash buildup have plagued the area for decades, but neighborhood residents have been working towards change. 

Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council Executive Director Margaret May has worked in the neighborhood since 2001, and has seen it blossom as residents like Ida Dockery take ownership and responsibility for cleaning it up.

Read more
Beyond Our Borders
10:15 am
Wed July 2, 2014

3 Challenges Of Transforming A Vacant Lot Into An Edible Landscape

This section of a vacant lot in the Ivanhoe neighborhood is envisioned as the future site of an orchard.
Credit Laura Spencer / KCUR

There are thousands of vacant lots in Kansas City, Mo. In the Ivanhoe neighborhood, from 31st Street to Emanuel Cleaver Boulevard and Prospect to Paseo, the Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council owns more than 150.

"Every lot can't be a community garden. Every lot can't be an urban farm. So it's like, what else can we do with these lots?" asks Dina Newman, who's coordinating a project in Ivanhoe called LOTS of Love.

Read more
Beyond Our Borders
11:19 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Neighborhoods In Kansas City's Historic Northeast Move Beyond City Ordinance

Neighborhoods say there are hundreds of homeless camps throughout the woods along historic Cliff Drive.
Credit Laura Ziegler

The Historic Northeast has a concentration of social services such as soup kitchens, shelters and health centers.

And the services tend to draw large numbers of the homeless to the area.

During the past year and a half, residents have been organizing to deal with some of the accompanying issues, like excess trash, sanitation and property damage. 

Read more
Beyond Our Borders
10:37 am
Fri June 27, 2014

School Slated For Demolition In The Historic Northeast Gets Community Support

Community leaders in the Historic Northeast want to preserve the 115-year-old Thacher School off Independence Avenue. But the district is ready to demolish the school, which closed in 2009.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

A rusted metal "No Trespassing" sign hangs on a post outside the boarded-up Thacher School in the Historic Northeast in Kansas City, Mo.

On the other side of the tall fence, the grass is neatly trimmed and the empty parking lot is litter-free. The brick exterior, once a popular canvas for graffiti artists, has been scrubbed mostly clean. A single blue doodle is the only evidence of vandalism neighbors say was once common at the vacant school.

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Beyond Our Borders
9:52 am
Fri June 27, 2014

How School And District Boundaries Shaped Education In Kansas City

Street map of Kansas City showing grade school and high school districts as well as the locations of schools. "Red Lines Indicate High School Boundaries" and "Colored School Districts" are marked in green.
Credit Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library / Kansas City, Mo.

Earlier this year, we embarked on a year-long investigation of the lines that divide and unite us — starting with a look at Troost Avenue.

The road has been used as a border for many things, including neighborhood associations, census tracts, political districts and public schools. 

Read more
Beyond Our Borders
1:56 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Cliff Drive Began With Aristocratic Kansas City Family

This 1903 photo shows a portion of Cliff Drive near an overhang.
Credit Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library / Kansas City, Mo.

Cliff Drive in Kansas City, Mo., hugs the limestone bluffs that separate the stately turn-of-the-century mansions in the Historic Northeast neighborhood from the industry and train tracks of the Missouri River bottoms.

The road was purchased from the estate of Reverend Nathan Scarritt around 1900.

Scarritt and his family were early settlers in Illinois, and moved to Missouri in the mid-1820s as pioneers.

Read more
Arts & Culture
12:15 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

Artists Explore Possibilities Of Vacant Lots In Kansas City

LOTS of Love coordinator Dina Newman points to the future site of an orchard in the Ivanhoe neighborhood.
Laura Spencer KCUR

Artists have a reputation for moving into places others don’t – turning areas once full of empty buildings into thriving districts, such as the Crossroads Arts District in Kansas City, Mo. So, it’s not surprising they’d take a look at the thousands of vacant lots and vacant houses in the city, exploring everything from sculpture parks to art galleries on some of the least desirable lots.

Creating a new space with a purpose

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Beyond Our Borders
7:39 am
Wed June 18, 2014

KC Anti-Crime Leader Says The Black Church Needs New Message For Grieving Teens

Anti-crime activist and minister Alvin Brooks at a recent meeting on how the church can better serve siblings of murder victims.
Credit Peggy Lowe / KCUR

The homicide epidemic among young black men on Kansas City’s east side is leaving a generation of grieving teens in its wake, and some in the crime-fighting community feel black churches need to change their message to better help these young people deal with their loss.

Read more
Beyond Our Borders
2:11 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Three Prized Possessions From Kansas City's Black Archives

A bumper sticker advertising the first documented Juneteenth celebration in Kansas City is a part of the collection honoring the 40th anniversary of the Black Archives of Mid-America. Juneteenth celebrations remember June 19, 1865, the day the last slaves heard about the Emancipation Proclamation.
Credit The Black Archives of Mid-America

The Black Archives of Mid-America has provided a place to learn about African-American history in Kansas City, Mo., for the past four decades.  

And during that time, it has amassed a vast collection of papers, photographs and even physical structures to show what life was like as a black Kansas Citian. 

As the organization celebrates its 40th anniversary this week, we wanted to know more about the types of materials in the collection that started in 1974, when Horace Peterson III founded the Black Archives.

Read more
Beyond Our Borders
5:33 am
Wed June 11, 2014

Program Offers Grief Counseling For Kansas City Teens Affected By Homicide

(From left) Tanee, 14, Makala, 14, Mantez, 17, and Audrey, 17, speak at a forum at a Kansas City public library at 30th and Prospect streets. All have lost siblings to homicide.
Credit (Peggy Lowe/KCUR)

There’s a hush in the community room at the Lucile H. Bluford Public Library at 30th and Prospect streets, something like the quiet in a church just before the service starts.

The two dozen folks gathered here at 6 p.m. on a Monday night in June want to hear from the four sitting as a panel in the front of the room, people that despite their young ages, have years of mourning to share.

Read more
Central Standard
8:40 am
Mon June 9, 2014

Low-Income Neighborhoods In Kansas City Have More Parks, Fewer Playgrounds

Dion Hardiman goes five miles from home to take his daughters to Loose Park, because they love the high slides and sand pit.
Credit Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Recently, Kansas State University researchers visited every park in Kansas City, Mo., to analyze the distribution of parks and park amenities throughout the city.

They found low-income neighborhoods, including Kansas City's east side, have fewer playgrounds than high-income neighborhoods. That’s in spite of having a higher concentration of parkland in those same neighborhoods. Researchers studied 219 parks and about 12,000 acres of parkland.

Green space in low-income areas

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