KCUR wants to know more about how Kansas Citians divide themselves and come together in a bi-state metropolitan area. So we're asking the question: How do geographic borders affect our daily lives in Kansas City?
Our extensiveBeyond Our Borders project is intended to spark a community conversation through social outreach and innovative journalism. We are exploring the history of four distinct lines - Troost Avenue, the State Line, the Wyandotte-Johnson county line, and the Missouri River - and 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
STORY IDEAS: If you have tips or story ideas for Beyond Our Borders, reach out to Laura Ziegler, community engagement reporter, email@example.com, or Briana O’Higgins, digital content editor, at firstname.lastname@example.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.
Asad Naseem is a clerk at a Sinclair gas station on 75th Street and State Line Road in Kansas City, Mo. He says many of his clients are Kansas residents who cross the state line to buy inexpensive cigarettes.
The 87-year-old president of La Raza political club in Kansas City, Mo., has been working the same poll in her neighborhood near the Kansas-Missouri state line every Election Day for more than 50 years.
Rafaela "Lali" García has devoted most of her life trying to get Kansas City's Hispanic community in Missouri more involved in local government.She says she proudly has registered hundreds of voters in the Show-Me State in the past few years.
Railroad companies in Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kan., brought many Mexican workers to the Kansas City area in search of labor. This view of the rail yards in Kansas City, Mo., as seen from the site of Union Station, is from 1910, which was a period of great Hispanic migration to the Kansas City area.
Credit Missouri Valley Collections / Kansas City Public Library
Students from the Armourdale community of Kansas City, Kan., refer to their neighborhood as the barrio.
Today the neighborhood is predominantly Hispanic, but it wasn’t always this way. Armourdale, which was one of the first Hispanic communities to form in Kansas City, Kan., in 1886, went through an era when Hispanics were a minority.
In our Beyond Our Bordersstory on arts and the state line in the Kansas City area, artists and leaders of arts organizations said they believed that the boundary isn't much of a barrier when it comes to the metro's cultural landscape — artists and audiences enthusiastically cross the state line for all sorts of cultural events.
Thinking about launching your own technology startup in the Kansas City metro?
Greg Kratofil, a technology attorney with Polsinelli law firm, has some advice.
"Incorporate in Kansas," Kratofil says. "Almost every company that we work with is thinking about accessing capital, some kind of round of financing to help them grow their business. You want to be in a place where you have tools that help your raise that money."
Harlan Brownlee wishes he could just erase the state line dividing Missouri and Kansas.
In fact, Brownlee knows how he’d do it. He’s the president of ArtsKC, a non-profit that makes grants and provides other resources to artists throughout the five-county metropolitan region. So, in his vivid imagination, he gets his hands on one of the giant Typewriter Erasers by Shuttlecocks sculptors Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen and rolls it down State Line Road.
In all cases, law enforcement departments say they collaborate closely across jurisdictions. When a crime occurs on or near the state line, dispatch officers from the city where the crime occurred immediately get in touch with dispatch across state line.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Bordersand 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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.