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
4:14 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Kansas City's Historic Northeast Balances History With Urban Reality

Lisa Donnici
Credit Alyson Raletz / KCUR

Kansas City’s Historic Northeast is known for its great cuisine and iconic old homes.

But it also grapples with a reputation of vandalism and other crime, says Lisa Donnici, who moved to the Historic Northeast roughly 14 years ago.

Her relationship with the area — made up of six distinct Kansas City neighborhoods that are just south of the Missouri River — goes back much farther, however.

She grew up there as a child, but her mother moved the family away so Donnici could attend schools in the suburbs. Marriage brought her back to the area.

Read more
Beyond Our Borders
11:16 am
Fri June 6, 2014

The Story Behind The Lost Song About Fairyland Park

A commemorative postcard from Fairyland Park features lyrics from the song.
Courtesy Brancato family

Thousands of dancers flocked each week to the Fairyland Park Dance Pavilion in Kansas City, Mo., in the decades between opening day in 1923 and when the park closed in the 1977.  The park was owned by the Brancato family, a family of Italian immigrants and successful business people who'd come to the United States at the turn of the century.

Read more
Central Standard
3:12 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Historic Northeast Neighborhoods: People, Art, Food

The Northeast Concourse Fountain is a gathering place in the historic northeast neighborhood of Kansas City, Mo.
Credit Charvex / Wikimedia Commons

As part of KCUR's Beyond Our Borders series, Central Standard met with a handful of residents of Kansas City's historic Northeast to hear about the people and projects shaping the future of that part of town. In particular, artist Hector Casanova told us about his project working with students to transform a boarded-up old school building in the neighborhood by treating its surfaces as a giant canvas.

Read more
Central Standard
2:42 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

The Best Eats In Kansas City's Historic Northeast

Authentic tacos, African cuisine, and pastries are just some of the diverse food options available in Northeast Kansas City.
Credit Russell Mondy / Flickr-CC

This year, KCUR is embarking on a project called "Beyond Our Borders," an attempt to take a closer look at the cultural and geographical borders in Kansas City.

The first border we are examining is Troost Avenue, which acts as a racial and socioeconomic diving line in Kansas City's urban core. 

Read more
Beyond Our Borders
8:04 am
Thu June 5, 2014

Kauffman Charter School Sets High Bar, But Can It Be Replicated?

A student at the Kauffman School shows his work to Principal Hannah Lofthus. Lofthus, who has been principal for three years, will transition to the school's chief executive officer this summer.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

It’s a lofty goal for any charter – be the premiere public school in Missouri and a model for the rest of the country.

And for a new school, it’s especially bold. Yet that’s been the vision of the Kauffman School since before it opened.

This week while other metro-area kids were enjoying that first taste of summer, sixth graders at the Kauffman School were sitting in science class. It's quiet except for the scratch of pencil on paper.

Read more
Community
5:30 am
Tue June 3, 2014

Highway 71 And The Road To Compromise

Mamie Hughes in May took a walk on the Mamie Hughes Bridge at Meyer Boulevard and looked down on Highway 71.
Credit Suzanne Hogan / KCUR

Mamie Hughes, 85, stands in the middle of a bridge that’s named after her, and she marvels at the power of the road below. The power of Highway 71.

“Sometimes I just like to stand here and look and watch the traffic,” she says as cars and semis zoom underneath. “Seeing how much goes, and it’s just kind of fun.”

The Mamie Hughes Bridge crosses Highway 71, or Bruce R. Watkins Drive as it’s also known, at Meyer Boulevard.

Read more
Tell KCUR
3:24 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Why Kansas Citians Are Fed Up With Highway 71

How has U.S. Highway 71 helped or hurt Kansas City, Mo.? Chime in on Twitter with the #TellKCUR hashtag.
Credit Alyson Raletz / KCUR

U.S. Highway 71 in Kansas City, Mo., is here to stay.

But that doesn’t mean Kansas Citians are happy about it.

When we asked this week: “How has Highway 71 helped or hurt Kansas City?” some listeners, tweeters, Facebookers and callers praised the highway’s convenience for being a main north-south thoroughfare in the metropolitan area.

Read more
Beyond Our Borders
10:25 am
Fri May 30, 2014

Years Ago, Summer Meant (Almost) Everyone Headed To Fairyland Park

A roller coaster at Fairyland Park cost 10 cents a ride.
Courtesy photo Crawford Family Collection- Judy Long

  

From the 1920s through the 1960s, summertime in Kansas City meant a thrilling trip to Fairyland Park.

The 80-acre amusement park in Kansas City, Mo., offered daring rides, an outdoor dance pavilion, a large swimming pool, and later, a drive-in movie theater.

As we move into the summer of 2014, we take a trip back to the heyday of a local summer ritual for many, but not all, Kansas City residents.

Every child's dream

Read more
Beyond Our Borders
2:42 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Cycling Group Gets Women Pedaling East Of Troost

The female cycling club, Sisters That Are Riding Strong, takes a 10-mile ride every Sunday. It sets off from the Southeast Community Center, at 4201 E. 63rd Street Trafficway in Kansas City, Mo.
Credit Courtesy photo / Denesha Snell

Denesha Snell remembers the first time her cycling club rode through Swope Park and down the Paseo.

"There was a guy in the park, and he said, 'Somebody told me there was a bunch of black women on bikes.' And he didn't believe it. We rode past him, and his mouth dropped to the floor because he could not believe it," says Snell. "The myth is that we don't work out and we don't exercise."

Read more
Tell KCUR
1:26 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Tell KCUR: How Has Highway 71 Helped Or Hurt Kansas City?

How has U.S. Highway 71 helped or hurt Kansas City? Tweet us with the #TellKCUR hashtag.
Credit KCUR

U.S. Highway 71 has become one of the most prominent north-south arteries of the Kansas City metropolitan area.

But when it was built on the east side of Kansas City, Mo., in the 1990s, the construction sparked controversy because of the way it bisected existing neighborhoods.  

Earlier this year, when we asked you what were Kansas City’s biggest dividing lines, Highway 71 emerged as one of them.

Read more
Community
3:55 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

How Long Does It Take To Get To Kansas City's Major Employers On Public Transit?

Kara McGowan, of Kansas City, Mo., takes two buses to her children's day care facility every day before hopping on two more buses to work.
Credit Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Earlier this month, we ran a story about the accessibility to jobs in the Kansas City metro by public transportation. It takes Kara McGowan, of Kansas City, Mo., more than 90 minutes to get to her job in Westport once she drops off her children at day care.

Read more
Transportation
8:43 am
Tue May 20, 2014

Kansas City Public Transit Among Nation's Worst In Connecting Workers To Jobs

Kara McGowan takes two buses to Operation Breakthrough where her kids go to day care, then two more to her job.
Credit Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Just after 7:15 a.m. in the morning, Kara McGowan rushes out of her house, carrying her baby, Airis, on one arm, a bulging diaper bag on the other. Her four-year-old, Addison, trails behind.

"We got eight minutes. Come on!" McGowan pleads.  She doesn't want to miss her bus. She doesn't have a car, so her only option to get her kids to daycare and to herself to her job as a receptionist in Westport is to take public transit.

McGowan's bus rolls away from the intersection before she and the children arrive, so she reroutes them to catch the 12th Street bus across town.

Read more
Beyond Our Borders
4:01 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

How One Kansas City Neighborhood Opened Doors, And The Leaders Who Called It Home

Google Street View shot of Sheraton Estates, a neighborhood on the east side of Kansas City, Mo., has been home to many influential African-Americans in the community.
maps.google.com

Sheraton Estates was the first place in Kansas City, Mo., where African-Americans sought out to build new homes south of 27th Street. The suburban-style subdivision was built in 1957. It was marketed to, and, historically, home to many influential African-American leaders in the city.

Read more
Beyond Our Borders
8:00 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Data Maps Show Troost As Racial, Economic And Educational Divide

Credit Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service / University of Virginia

As KCUR examines how Kansas Citians divide themselves in our Beyond Our Borders series, we wanted to look at the demographics of the areas where we are focusing our reporting.

Earlier this year, we asked the community which lines were the most divisive in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Troost Avenue was cited as one of the most prominent racial and socioeconomic borders

Read more
Beyond Our Borders
1:52 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Prospect MAX Bus Decision Expected From Court Soon

An approval of a transit plan involving the streetcar and a new MAX bus line would send a taxing district question to voters.
Credit Kyle Gradinger / Flickr--CC

Any day now, Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Marco Roldan is expected to hand down a decision that would allow an election to create a special transit taxing district.

Read more
Community
9:43 am
Wed May 14, 2014

Then And Now: Pictures Show Changes In KC's Blue Hills Neighborhood

Credit Suzanne Hogan / Google Street View 2011 / KCUR

It's been three years since the Google Street View camera made its way through the streets of the Blue Hills neighborhood between Prospect Avenue and Paseo Boulevard, and 47th and 63rd Streets.

In that time, as the community has tried to shake the stigma of being filled with blighted homes, the community has seen a lot of visible changes. (See how Blue Hills has been trying to change its reputation.)

Read more
Beyond Our Borders
5:30 am
Wed May 14, 2014

After Recession, Blue Hills Neighborhood Works To Change Its Reputation

Helen Bryant of Bryant Real Estate likes to call herself an 'affordable housing real estate agent.' She's been working in Blue Hills and the urban core since she started her business 20 years ago.
Suzanne Hogan KCUR

Kansas City has a reputation for being one of the most affordable cities in the country to buy a home, and as the metro emerges from the recession, some of the most affordable neighborhoods are trying to draw in buyers.

Read more
Community
5:30 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Looking At Kansas City's Vacant Land As Opportunity

A close-up of green spaces on a map called "Blue River Country Fingers." It's placed on top of a vacant land map, with Land Bank properties in red.
Laura Spencer KCUR

Vacant lots are a problem for cities across the country. They’re costly for city budgets, as the lots have to be mowed and cleared of trash. For neighborhood residents, they can affect quality of life, and decrease property values.

There are thousands of vacant lots in Kansas City, Mo., including at least 3,000 parcels in the city’s Land Bank, and most of them are located east of Troost Avenue. A team of University of Missouri-Kansas City students spent the semester investigating vacancy and mapping out creative solutions.

Read more
Beyond Our Borders
1:10 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

What It’s Like To Live In Walt Disney’s Childhood Home In Kansas City

Walt Disney moved to this house at 3028 Bellefontaine Ave. in Kansas City's east side when he was 9 years old.
Alyson Raletz KCUR

The view from Roberta Long’s white rocking chair on the porch of her Kansas City, Mo., house has taught her it’s a small world, after all.

That’s where she sits and meets people from Europe, California and everywhere in between.

 They stop by the house and take pictures at all hours of the day and night. In the summer, buses roll by with more gawkers, Long says.

And it’s all because of the legend who used to live in her home more than 100 years ago — Walt Disney.

Read more
Beyond Our Borders
11:20 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Two Maps That Show The Concentration Of Lot Vacancies In Kansas City

UMKC seniors Sean Partain and Karie Kneller were part of the team investigating vacant land in Kansas City, Mo.
Credit Laura Spencer / KCUR

It's estimated Kansas City, Mo., has at least 4,000 to 5,000 vacant lots. These sites, sometimes weedy and filled with trash, contribute to neighborhood blight and lower property taxes.

This semester, 11 seniors in the Architecture, Urban Planning and Design department at UMKC documented the parcels of vacant land scattered across Kansas City, Mo. They zeroed in on an area with the highest rate of vacancies, predominantly in the urban core and east of Troost Avenue.

Read more
Arts & Culture
3:07 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

5 Questions For The Guys Reimagining Disney's Laugh-O-Gram Studio

Nelle Peters designed the Laugh-O-Gram building. She's considered one of Kansas City's most prolific architects.
Laura Spencer KCUR

Walt Disney opened his first animation studio, Laugh-O-Gram, on the second floor of a red-brick building near 31st and Troost in Kansas City, Mo. The business folded in 1923, and the building, due to deteriorating conditions, was almost torn down about a decade ago.

But now, plans are underway for the site to return as a center for animation, but one for the 21st century. This includes digital storytelling, experimental animation training labs, and a theater to showcase new work – as well as an upgrade, so the building is sustainable.

Read more
Beyond Our Borders
6:06 am
Fri May 2, 2014

Walt Disney's Role In Transforming Troost

A view looking west to Troost from the Laugh-O-Gram Studio at 31st and Forest, Kansas City, Mo.
Credit Laura Spencer / KCUR

An attempt to breathe life into a building near Troost Avenue with ties to Walt Disney could help erase the corridor’s stigma as a key dividing line in Kansas City, says Butch Rigby.

Rigby, chairman of the non-profit Thank you Walt Disney, is behind an effort to revitalize Laugh-O-Gram Studio, which is just east of 31st Street and Troost.

Read more
Beyond Our Borders
11:09 am
Thu May 1, 2014

In Ivanhoe, Food Helping Neighborhood Rebuild

Terry Glenn re-stocks shelves at the Harvest Learning Center Market. The store is in the basement of the church where Glenn is pastor.
Credit Jeremy Bernfeld / KCUR

Terry Glenn’s neighborhood was hit hard by the recession, and it wasn’t booming before the rough times.

He saw houses crumble, get boarded up and left to rot. He saw neighbors moving away. And he worried that Ivanhoe, on Kansas City’s east side, was dying.

“We said, ‘We’ve got to look inside of this and see exactly what the problem is,’” Glenn said. “And once we did, we found out that the families were moving to try to find better schools, find healthier food, find different places that their family can go and have a good community.”

Read more
Community
9:22 am
Tue April 29, 2014

After Tulips Bloom, Rockhurst University Puts Bulbs Up For Taking

Tulips bloom along the edge of the Rockhurst University campus.
Credit Courtesy / Rockhurst University

Rockhurst University planted 33,000 tulips as part of the Tulips on Troost program this year. Now that the blankets of flowers are finished blooming, the university is giving the tulip bulbs away.

Read more
Community
10:55 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Troost Avenue Festival Will Celebrate 10 Years This Weekend

The Troost Ave Festival features crafts, music and food.
Credit KCUR

A handful of volunteers gathered earlier this week at Reconciliation Services, a social service agency at 31st Street and Troost Avenue in Kansas City, Mo., they ate stuffed grape leaves around a small table, talking about what needs to be done for Saturday’s 10th annual Troost Ave Festival. But, not much comes up.

"We need to figure out the color of our T-Shirts,” says Rae Peterson, the de facto group leader. The T-shirt will bear an image donated by local artist D.J. Burton.

Read more
Community
4:02 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Federal Transportation Dollars Boost Infrastructure And Transit

Runners help celebrate opening a bridge across Brush Creek, the final project of a $50 million federal infrastructure grant.
Credit Ron Jones

It was a backslapping moment for federal and local officials Monday morning as they celebrated the end of a $50 million federal transit and infrastructure grant.

A group of runners broke through a green crepe paper ribbon on a pedestrian bridge over Brush Creek, a block east of Troost and just north of Volker in Kansas City, Mo.

Read more
Beyond Our Borders
6:48 am
Thu April 17, 2014

Kansas City Grocer's Hand-Painted Signs Are A Lost Art In The Modern Age

Grocer William Rosser has been painting signs for his independent grocery stores in Kansas City for more than 50 years.
Briana O'Higgins KCUR

Every morning, William Rosser starts his day painting signs.

The 77-year-old butcher and owner of Wild Woody's Happy Foods on 31st Street and Myrtle Avenue in Kansas City, Mo., has been painting grocery signs for more than 50 years.

"I make sure every display's got a sign on it. That's my whole goal," he says.

Rosser's store is one of few remaining independent grocery stores in the area. It serves Kansas City's east side — an area largely considered to be a food desert.

Read more
History
3:49 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

The History Of Troost

For decades, Troost Avenue has symbolized racial separation, income disparity and vast differences in home value as well as frequency of crime. But it's only a street. And at one time, it happened to be quite a prosperous street.

Hosted by Monroe Dodd, this discussion explores the specific decisions, both national and local, that laid the groundwork for Troost's transformation into a major metropolitan divide. Personal stories from a longtime resident contribute to this conversation.  

Guests:

Read more
Beyond Our Borders
5:30 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Tulips On Troost Still Blooming, But Efforts Are Dying Out

The Tulips on Troost program has struggled in recent years, but streets near Rockhurst University reflect the school's continuing participation in the program.
Julie Denesha KCUR

When the first blankets of tulips bloomed along Troost Avenue as part of the Tulips on Troost street beautification program, national, even international press paid attention.

But the program was never supposed to be just about flowers. It was also an effort to reimagine Troost, which for years has been thought of as an economic and racial dividing line.

Today, the program is all but defunct, lacking funds and human capital to keep it alive.

Driving north along Troost from 75th street, there aren't many signs of tulips. 

Read more
Beyond Our Borders
12:22 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

We Want Your Photos Of Awesome Things East Of Troost

This plate at a popular breakfast spot on Troost Avenue is featured on KCUR's new Tumblr, Awesome Things East of Troost.
Credit Alyson Raletz / KCUR

We’re finding lots of cool things on and east of Troost Avenue in Kansas City. And we know you are, too.

As KCUR continues its look at Troost as a dividing line in Kansas City — part of our Beyond Our Borders project  — we’re posting photos of our cool finds on a new Tumblr site called Awesome Things East of Troost.

Read more

Pages