2018 Art in the Loop kickoff is set for May 1

The 2018 Art in the Loop Project: KC Plays!, a curated outdoor exhibition staged in partnership with the City of Kansas City, Missouri, and KC Streetcar, will feature 15 temporary artworks and performances along the city’s streetcar route, in West Terrace/Case Park, and at the Kansas City Public Library.

Make plans to join us from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 1 for the kickoff presentation and reception at the Central Library, 14 West 10th Street.  Click here to RSVP.

As the series prepares to open, a number of the participating artists take turns discussing their works. They are introduced by art-directors Jahaira Aguilar and Andrew Lattner, local artists and co-founders of the collaborative group NDo. Both artists are current Artists-in-Residence at the Charlotte Street Foundation. Art in the Loop, running from May 1 to September 30, is designed to make cultural experiences available to downtown residents, visitors, and workers.

The 2018 Art in the Loop Project: KC Plays infuses the center of Downtown Kansas City with innovative and engaging temporary art that will refresh, intrigue and surprise Downtown employees, residents, and visitors. The project also creates opportunities for local emerging and established artists to extend their practice into the Downtown environment with curatorial, professional and logistical support. The 2018 locations for the series includes:

  1. Art in the Park – West Terrace & Case Park, 10th & Jefferson;
  2. Art on the Line – KC Streetcar, stops located along Main Street from the City Market to Union Station;
  3. Art at the Library – Kansas City Public Library Central Library,14 W. 10th St.
  4. Art in the Loop Studio Residency –  Location TBD
  5. Art in the Loop Exhibition at The Box Gallery – Commerce Bank Building, 1000 Walnut Street

2018 ART IN THE LOOP ARTISTS

SlinkyBall concept by Denise DiPiazzo

Art in the Park (West Terrace/Case Park):

  • Denise DiPiazzo, SlinkyBall
  • Stacey Sharpe, Air Play
  • Annelise Kinney, Michael Elwood & Daniel Rawlings, Busy Bead Maze

Celestial Heap concept image by Monica Dixon

Art on the Line (KC Streetcar):

  • Alter Art Space, Alter: Pop-Up pARTy (August 24, 6:00 p.m., Union Station Stop)
  • Daniel Chase, Running Idle, (Video animation on KCity Post Kiosks)
  • Monica Dixon, Celestial Heap, (Vinyl artwork onboard KC Streetcar vehicle)
  • Emily Sloan, Streetcar Shelter Sweater, (Fabric artwork, River Market West Stop)
  • Megan Karson, Stranger on a Train, (Soft sculpture onboard KC Streetcar vehicle)
  • Amy Kligman, Party Car, (Vinyl  artwork on KC Streetcar vehicle exterior)
  • Kriss Miller & Alicen Lundberg, KC Word Plays! (Interactive sculpture, Library Southbound Stop)
  • Stephen Proski, Night People (Vinyl artwork, Crossroads Southbound Stop)
  • Stone Lion Puppets, KC Puppets at Play!,(July 11 and August 8, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Union Station and City Market Stops proposed locations.)

Wearable Play concept image by Sunyoung Cheong

Art Starts at the Library (Kansas City Public Library Central Library, 14 W 10th St.):

  • David Alpert, Passing Notes, (June 1, August 3 and other dates TBD)
  • Sunyoung Cheong, Wearable Play, (August 3)

Art in the Loop Studio Residency: Soft Lab

Selected artists Olivia Clanton and Natalie Spicker will create experimental artwork as well as invite the public to interact with them during weaving and quilting workshops. This residency is the first of its kind for Art in the Loop and will provide opportunities for artists to interact with the public and collaborate in a new way. The studio location will be finalized soon. Schedules for workshops will be posted at www.artintheloop.com

The Box Gallery
New this year, The Box Gallery will host an Art in the Loop Exhibition from June through July, with an opening reception on Friday, June 1, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The exhibition will include images and ephemera for this year’s Art in the Loop Project: KC Plays, as well as, maps, brochures and videos. It will also be the site of music performances, receptions and other events. The Box Gallery is located on the first floor of the Commerce Bank Building, 1000 Walnut Street, Kansas City, MO 64106.

The 2018 Art in the Loop Project: KC Plays is made possible through the generous support of KC Streetcar; the City of Kansas City, Missouri; the Missouri Arts Council; Arts KC and our corporate sponsors including Stinson Leonard Street, Copaken Brooks, Lofts@Delaware Landing, 3D Development, Burns & McDonnell, JE Dunn Construction, McCownGordon Construction and PortKC. We appreciate support and guidance provided by our partners: Downtown Council, Downtown Community Improvement Districts, KCMO-Public Works Department, KC Streetcar, the KC Parks, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City Art Institute, The Box Gallery, Union Station and The Bridge 90.9.

Art in the Loop will also bring a diverse array of musicians to Downtown Kansas City through a lunchtime concert series on Wednesdays, from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., from May 30 through September 5, at the same locations where artwork is installed.  Musicians will be announced later this month.

For more information about the project, the artists and performance schedule visit www.artintheloop.com, www.facebook.com/artintheloop, or twitter.com/ArtintheLoop.

Downtown stages go ‘Back to the Future’ in the week ahead

‘Belfast Girls’ – presented by Fishtank Theatre and the Charlotte Street Foundation – is now appearing at La Esquina.

Screenland at the Symphony, the UMKC Jazz Night, a Night of Tango and five different theatrical performances will set the bar sky-high for a bold week ahead in the Downtown arts & entertainment scene for Monday to Sunday, April 16-22, including:

Back to the Future will light up Downtown this weekend with Screenland at the Symphony, featuring four showings of the classic motion picture, as the Kansas City Symphony performs the movie score at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

The Box Gallery presents “The Art of Comics: an Andrews McMeel Universal retrospective of the creators and characters who shaped popular culture” now through May 25 in the Commerce Arcade, 1000 Walnut. The free exhibit explores the evolution of the funny pages, from Doonesbury to Calvin and Hobbes to the new frontier that is web comics, all through the lens of the company that resulted from that legendary partnership.

Bach Aria Soloists return to Downtown KC on Saturday for their celebrated show, Night of Tango, at the Folly Theater.

Folly Theater features three extraordinary performances over four days this weekend, including

  • UMKC Jazz Night – Join the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance jazz bands in a lively collage concert featuring a variety of ensembles that represent the entirety of jazz studies at the Conservatory, directed by Bobby Watson and Dan Thomas, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Thursday;
  • Night of Tango – Bach Aria Soloists returns to one of its most acclaimed programs, when it presents
    with two world-class masters of the genre, bandoneónist Héctor Del Curto — 2018 Grammy winner for Best Latin Jazz Album — and Latin Grammy-nominated pianist Gustavo Casenave at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
  • Nelson Freire will take center stage in this Muriel McBrien Kauffman Master Pianists Series performance courtesy of the Friends of Chamber Music at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
John Singer Sargent’s masterpiece ‘Gassed’ is on exhibit now June 3 at the National WWI Museum.

Knuckleheads Saloon – the hottest honky tonk in the Big Town – features 10 shows this week, including the KC Blues Society Jam at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, and Killer QUEEN and The WHO Generation at 8:30 p.m. Friday.

The Midland will be smokin’ hot this week with back-to-back nights of entertainment, including An Evening with Tedeschi Trucks Band at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, and The Fun Show with Cat & Nat at 8 p.m. Thursday. 

Pig and Swig – Make plans now for the Third Annual Pig and Swig Festival benefiting Operation BBQ Relief, and enjoy the sights, smells and flavors of Kansas City barbecue in the heart of Downtown KC. Doors open at 2 p.m. on Sarturday, and the BBQ, bourbon and bacon will be flyin’ until 6 p.m. at the Power & Light District.

Stanfords Comedy Club brings laughs at its new joint at 831 Walnut. Comedian DC Young will headline the 18 & older show this week – beginning at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, plus late shows on Friday and Saturday.

The Truman will be bouncing the east Crossroads with one show this week, Houndmouth with special guest Frederick the Younger at 8 p.m. Friday.

The Art of the Brick – a special exhibition designed to inspire ingenuity and creativity, is the world’s largest and most elaborate display of LEGO art – continues through May 28 at Union Station.

LIVE THEATER is thriving on Downtown stages, which feature five productions this week, including:

  • Belfast Girls – presented by Fishtank Theatre and the Charlotte Street Foundation – tells the powerful Jaki McCarrick story of five young women who seek passage on a ship to Australia to escaping the Irish famine in 1850. Performances continue through April 29 at La Esquina.
  • A Fine Bromance – Direct from their sold-out engagement at Feinstein’s/54 Below in New York City, Jeff Kready and Tally Sessions bring an evening of soaring tenor and booming baritone duets to Downtown at 8 p.m. Monday at the MTH Theater at Crown Center.
  • Jack and the Bean Magico! The classic fairytale, “Jack and the Beanstalk,” is told with the audience’s help, who assist Jack as he climbs the beanstalk to the giant’s rich and fertile land. This special production opens Tuesday and runs through May 20 at The Coterie in Crown Center.
  • The Mascot, a satirically comic coming-of-age story about an obsessive father, a starry-eyed son, and the drama that ensues when a father’s pursuit of his unfulfilled aspirations torpedo the dream of his son, runs through April 29 at The Living Room Theatre.
  • The Music of Motown – featuring songs from Broadway musicals like The Wiz, Dreamgirls and Motown The Musical, along with tunes made famous by Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and Diana Ross – is on tap at 7:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday at MTH Theater at Crown Center.

ARTS – your guide to arts and culture in greater Kansas City:

LIVE MUSIC – of all tastes and flavors – is performed at these Downtown venues on most nights:

MUSEUMS are alive and well throughout Downtown, including these 16 destinations:

For more of what’s happening in Downtown and Kansas City, check out our friends at VisitKC.com

KCPD, Public Works team up to improve parking access

 

As Downtown Kansas City’s momentum continues to attract more residents, visitors and businesses, the Parking Services Division of the Public Works Department and the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department have partnered to support Downtown businesses and residents through a parking enforcement upgrade.

Parking meter upgrades are designed to help improve the parking experience in Downtown.

As part of the budget process, the city allocated $145,000 to KCPD to increase Downtown parking enforcement operations.

As a result, starting today (Monday, April 9) KCPD will increase Downtown parking enforcement. Warning tickets will be issued for a short period of time, however, if the parking violation is a safety concern, or impedes the natural flow of traffic, a citation could be issued.

“We know that we can best support our Downtown businesses with adequate levels of parking enforcement to encourage parking turnover. This fits into the City’s efforts to implement parking policies based on community input and best practices,” said Public Works Director Sherri McIntyre.

The City already has online parking garage reservations, mobile payment for metered parking, electric vehicle charging stations, and car-share services.  Other parking improvement efforts include recent parking studies in the River Market and Crossroads Arts District.

The City is implementing recommendations from those studies, including development of technology that would offer real time parking availability with a new smart-phone app. The City also recently rolled out a demo of several smart parking meters downtown with the goal of using community feedback to choose one vendor for permanent installations.

You can find updates on parking policy improvements by visiting kcmo.gov/parking.

For more information on city parking policies, please contact Beth Breitenstein, Public Works Public Information Officer at 816-513-2612. For more information on parking enforcement operations, please contact Sergeant Kari Thompson, KCPD at 816-234-5170

Giggles with Gilda sets an inspired tone for the A&E week ahead

Kevin Nealon, the SNL alum and ‘Weeds’ connoisseur, will perform at the Midland this week in a benefit for Giggles with Gilda.

Giggles with Gilda (Kevin Nealon), A Century of Bernstein (KC Symphony), the 60th Anniversary Dance Festival (KC Ballet), Homegrown Music Festival (30+ bands) and The Art of Comics (Andrews McMeel) set the bar sky-high for a terrific week ahead in the Downtown arts & entertainment scene for Monday to Sunday, April 9-15:

Ahayu – A program of pre- and post-Columbian music from the Americas curated by Amado Espinoza, who is currently recording a new álbum in Kansas City with percussionist Andres Ramirez, violinist Tina Bilberry, and bassist Johnny Hamil, is on tap for 8 p.m. Saturday at MTH Theater in Crown Center.

The Box Gallery will present “The Art of Comics: an Andrews McMeel Universal retrospective of the creators and characters who shaped popular culture” now through May 25 in the Commerce Arcade, 1000 Walnut. The free exhibit explores the evolution of the funny pages, from Doonesbury to Calvin and Hobbes to the new frontier that is web comics, all through the lens of the company that resulted from that legendary partnership.

The Homegrown Buzz Showcase will feature 30+ local musicians and bands at 8+ bars and venues beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday in the Power & Light District.

Buzz Homegrown Music Showcase, sponsored by 96.5 the Buzz, is an annual exhibition for a cavalcade of local musicians beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday at Kansas City Live! in the Power & Light District. Hembree, a slick indie-pop act, is the most established band on the bill. that features Olivia Fox, Brandon Phillips and The Condition, The Noise FM, Fathers, Mess, Y God Y, The Dear Misses, Faintheart, Hot Suede, Keaton Conrad and many more! Click here for ticket information.

5th District Voyage of Artistic Discovery – The Kansas City Public Library plays host to the annual Missouri 5th Congressional District student art exhibit and celebration, at which U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II and his wife Dianne Cleaver honor local high school artists at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the Central Library. RSVP now.

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts will light up Kansas City this week with seven remarkable performances, including:

  • The McFadden Brothers will dance the night away at a free concert for Kauffman Center members at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Helzberg Hall.
  • Kansas City Ballet will conclude the 60th Anniversary Dance Festival this weekend with flannel shirts, cowboy boots and jeans that never looked so good in this tribute to rockabilly, Johnny Cash. James Kudelka’s hit ballet The Man in Black is an ode to the human spirit and a unique blend of country-western dance. Performances are set for 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre.
  • A Century of Bernstein continues the Kansas City Symphony’s centennial celebration of extraordinary American composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday in Helzberg Hall. Typical of Bernstein’s original and eclectic style, the Chichester Psalms combine various influences, including music initially intended for the Broadway stage.

Knuckleheads Saloon – the hottest honky tonk in the Big Town – features nine shows this week, including Kiefer Sutherland with Ian Moore and Rick Brantley at 8 p.m. Friday, and Tab Benoit with The Kris Iager Band at 9 p.m. Saturday.

Kevin Nealon, the SNL veteran and ‘Weeds’ afficiando, will bring his comic magic to town for a Giggle with Gilda benefit performance at 8:30 p.m. Thursday at the Midland Theatre.

Stanfords Comedy Club brings laughs to Downtown from its new joint at 831 Walnut. Comedian Brad Ellis will headline most of the 18 & older show this week – beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, plus late shows on Thursday, Friday and Saturday – while comedian Kevin Farley will headline both shows on Thursday. And, Open Mic is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Sundays. For ticket information, visit Stanfords.

The Truman will be bouncing the east Crossroads with two sold out shows this week, including an acoustic evening with Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness with Friends featuring Allen Stone, Zac Clark and Bob Oxblood (of Jack’s Mannequin) at 7 p.m. Tuesday, and AJR with Ocean Park Standoff and Hundred Handed at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday.

John Singer Sargent’s masterpiece ‘Gassed’ is on exhibit now June 3 at the National WWI Museum.

WWI Museum – John Singer Sargent’s incredible masterpiece Gassed is truly one of the giants of the art world at more than nine feet tall by 21 feet long. The landmark painting is the focal point in this special centennial exhibition – that is on exhibition through June 3 in the Wylie Gallery – that also includes reproductions of many of his study drawings and historical and contemporary objects on detection and protection from chemical warfare.

LIVE THEATER is thriving on Downtown stages, which feature two productions this week, including:

  • Belfast Girls – presented by Fishtank Theatre and the Charlotte Street Foundation – tells the powerful Jaki McCarrick story of five young women who seek passage on a ship to Australia to escaping the Irish famine in 1850. Performances begin Friday and run through April 29 at La Esquina.
  • The Mascot, a satirically comic coming-of-age story about an obsessive father, a starry-eyed son, and the drama that ensues when a father’s pursuit of his unfulfilled aspirations torpedo the dream of his son, opens Thursday and runs through April 29 at The Living Room Theatre.

ARTS – your guide to arts and culture in greater Kansas City:

LIVE MUSIC – of all tastes and flavors – is performed at these Downtown venues on most nights:

MUSEUMS are alive and well throughout Downtown, including these 16 destinations:

For more of what’s happening in Downtown and Kansas City, check out our friends at VisitKC.com

LaunchKC opens 2018 grants competition today

Heather Spalding, CEO of Cambrian Tech, celebrates after learning that her startup company won the $100,000 grand prize at the 2017 LaunchKC competition in September. The application window opens on April 2 for the 2018 grants competition.

Let the competition begin!

LaunchKC, the fourth annual grants competition for tech entrepreneurs, opened the application window at 8 a.m. today (Monday, April 2), as the 100-day online window opens to innovators around the country.

LaunchKC ignited its 2018 promotional campaign in mid-March at SxSW Interactive in Austin, Texas. Drew Solomon, who chairs the Kansas City-based grants competition, made the announcement at Startup Night SxSW 2018, an event presented by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and Tech.Co.

“In its first three grants competitions, LaunchKC awarded $1.5 million in grants to 29 entrepreneurs,” Solomon said. “More than 1,100 entrepreneurs from around the world have applied for grants in those first three competitions.”

LaunchKC is a civic engine in the Kansas City tech startup space. It is committed to elevating KC into one of the nation’s top 10 most livable, viable cities for entrepreneurs to be successful and to celebrate the community’s assets.

Competition Countdown for 2018

  • April 2 – Application window opens at www.launchkc.org
  • July 11 – Application window closes at midnight
  • July to September – Panel of expert judges to review applications and narrow list of contenders to 20 finalists by early September
  • Week of October 8-12 – LaunchKC finalists will be featured throughout the fourth Techweek Kansas City conference
  • October 12 – Selection of 10 grant recipients on LaunchKC Day during the final day of Techweek!

“We are searching for the best and brightest startups or early stage tech businesses to apply and compete for $500,000 in grants,” said Mike Hurd, marketing officer for the Downtown Council and LaunchKC. “We want to help these entrepreneurs make their business dreams come true in Kansas City.”

Of the 29 startup or early stage businesses to receive LaunchKC grants over the last three years, 26 of them – 90 percent – are still in business.

Grant Recipients

The active 26 startups include Big Bang, BlitabBlooom, Cambrian, ConsultUS, FEWDM, Forest Devices, H3 Enterprises, HealthID, HerdDoggIntegrated Roadways, Intelag, iShare Medical, Labor Chart, Mobility+Designed, MusicSpoke, MyCroft, PerfectCube, PlanITImpact, PopBookings, Sickweather, SquareOffs, Super Dispatch, TradeLanes, VideoFizz and Zitches.

LaunchKC Partners

LaunchKC is an initiative of the Downtown Council of Kansas City, Missouri, in collaboration with the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, Missouri.

LaunchKC Sponsors

LaunchKC and its core group of sponsors – who have supported the competition since day #1 – including the Missouri Technology Corporation, along with the City of Kansas City, The Cordish Companies, J.E. Dunn Construction, Husch Blackwell, Kansas City Power & Light, the William T. Kemper Foundation, Lathrop Gage, Lead Bank, the Missouri Department of Economic Development, Polsinelli, Techweek and UMB Bank.

The competition is supported by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Center, the Regnier Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurships, and the UMKC Bloch School of Management.

For more information, contact Mike Hurd, marketing officer for the Downtown Council and LaunchKC at mike@downtownkc.org or 816-447-2136.

Ailey II & Ballet ‘Diamonds’ set the stage for the week

Dance (via Ailey II and the Kansas City Ballet) and First Friday frivolity set the table for a thrilling week ahead in the Downtown arts & entertainment scene – Monday to Sunday, April 2-8, – that includes:

Ailey II: The Alvin Ailey spirit will shine as these artists perform an exhilarating and diverse repertory that includes Ailey’s timeless classics and thrilling new works by today’s outstanding emerging choreographers. The Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey present the Next Generation of Dance in four performances – at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 2 and 6 p.m. Saturday – at the Folly Theater.

American Jazz Museum presents The Anat Cohen Tentet, featuring woodwind virtuoso Anat Cohen, at 8 p.m. Saturday in the Gem Theater. Both on stage and on Cohen’s release, Happy Song, the Tentet weaves a tapestry of sounds, freeing Cohen to explore the full range of the clarinet’s dynamics and demonstrate its vastly expressive character.

The Box Gallery will present “The Art of Comics: an Andrews McMeel Universal retrospective of the creators and characters who shaped popular culture” beginning with a free public reception from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday in the Commerce Arcade, 1000 Walnut. The exhibit explores the evolution of the funny pages, from Doonesbury to Calvin and Hobbes to the new frontier that is web comics, all through the lens of the company that resulted from that legendary partnership. The free exhibit will run through May 25.

First Friday – KC’s hottest night of the spring – returns this Friday with a sizzling collection arts and cultural experiences throughout the:

  • Crossroads Arts District featuring arts organizations, galleries, studios, and a wide variety of local businesses in a celebration of local, regional and national artists and live entertainment from 5 to 9 p.m.
  • 18th & Vine Jazz District – Shop local artists and a diverse array of food trucks, along with a jazzy selection of live entertainment, beginning at 4 p.m.
  • Champagne, Jazz & KC History – featuring the grand opening Kansas City’s most luxurious AirBnB, the 1887 J.G. Peppard House from 4-9 p.m. Friday at 1704 Jefferson St. in the Westside.
  • First Friday (Short) Film Festival gets under way after most of the galleries have closed. The doors at MTH Theater in Crown Center open at 6:30 p.m., and the screening begins at 7:30. Admission is always free.  Seating is first come, first served.
  • First Friday Warehouse Weekends – one of the finest vintage marketplaces in the country – flourishes every First Friday weekend (Friday through Sunday) in the West Bottoms.

Kansas City Ballet will present the 60th Anniversary Dance Festival – featuring six ballets in two weeks – this weekend and next at the Muriel Kauffman Theatre in the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts:

  • The first weekend is the must-see event of the year. George Balanchine’s Diamonds recalls the order and grandeur of Imperial Russia and the Maryinsky Theater, where Balanchine was trained. It is the third and final ballet of Balanchine’s Jewels and is a glorious culmination of beauty and elegance. Diamonds will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday.
  • In the second weekend, the Dance Festival will feature three contemporary ballets. Flannel shirts, cowboy boots and jeans never looked so good in this tribute to rockabilly, Johnny Cash. James Kudelka’s hit ballet The Man in Black is an ode to the human spirit and a unique blend of country-western dance. The Toronto Star called it “a work so inventive, so alert to the music and their lyrics, and so deeply moving.” The Man in Black will be performed over the weekend of April 13-15.

Kauffman Center will light up Kansas City this week with five amazing performances, including Side by Side with the Youth Symphony of Kansas City at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Helzberg Hall; the three performances of the 60th Anniversary Dance Festival by the Kansas City Ballet (see previous entry) in the Kauffman Theatre; and the University of Kansas Choral Festival at 3 p.m. Sunday in Helzberg Hall.

Knuckleheads Saloon – the hottest honky tonk in the Big Town – features 11 shows this week, including the Dweezil Zappa World Tour at 8 p.m. Wednesday; Maria the Mexican at 7 p.m. Thursday; the Danielle Nicole CD release party at 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

Eddie B brings his Teachers Only Comedy Tour to the Folly for a one-night-only performance on Friday.

The Midland Theatre will feature the comedy of school teacher Eddie B at 8 p.m. Friday. Eddie B has become a national sensation on his Teachers Only Comedy Tour, as he bring classroom experience and great comedic timing to relate to and entertain teachers across the country.

The Central Library will play host to the 10th annual Money Smart Day, presented by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Money Smart Day – Make plans to attend this 10th annual event, presented by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Central Library. Choose from a dozen free educational sessions covering a variety of money-related topics. You can also get a copy of your credit report for free! The event is open to the public and registration is not necessary. Free parking validation is available for the Library garage

Stanfords Comedy Club brings the laughs to Downtown from its new location at 831 Walnut. Comedian James Inman will headline an 18 & older show this week – beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, plus late shows on Friday and Saturday. And, Open Mic is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Sundays. For ticket information, visit Stanfords.

The Truman will be bouncing the east Crossroads with two rockin’ showx this week including Dan Auerbach and The Easy Eye Sound Review, featuring Robert Finley and Shannon Shaw, at 8 p.m. Wednesday; and The Darkness with special guests Diarrhea Planet at 8 p.m. Sunday.

The Art of the Brick – a special exhibition designed to inspire ingenuity and creativity, is the world’s largest and most elaborate display of LEGO art – continues through May 28 at Union Station.

Union Station is featuring a special exhibition on The Art of the Brick,  the critically acclaimed collection of creative and inspiring pieces constructed using only LEGO bricks now through May 28.

John Singer Sargent’s masterpiece ‘Gassed’ is on exhibit now June 3 at the National WWI Museum.

WWI Museum – John Singer Sargent’s incredible masterpiece Gassed is truly one of the giants of the art world at more than nine feet tall by 21 feet long. The landmark painting is the focal point in this special centennial exhibition – that is on exhibition through June 3 in the Wylie Gallery – that also includes reproductions of many of his study drawings and historical and contemporary objects on detection and protection from chemical warfare.

LIVE THEATER is thriving on Downtown stages, which feature four productions this week, including:

  • Belfast Girls – presented by Fishtank Theatre and the Charlotte Street Foundation – tells the powerful Jaki McCarrick story of five young women who seek passage on a ship to Australia to escaping the Irish famine in 1850. Performances begin Friday and run through April 29 at La Esquina.
  • The Mascot, a satirically comic coming-of-age story about an obsessive father, a starry-eyed son, and the drama that ensues when a father’s pursuit of his unfulfilled aspirations torpedo the dream of his son, opens Thursday and runs through April 29 at The Living Room Theatre.
  • Tuck Everlasting – Natalie Babbitt’s popular novel comes to life on stage contemplating the benefits and burdens of never growing older will run through Thursday at The Coterie at Crown Center.

ARTS – your guide to arts and culture in greater Kansas City:

LIVE MUSIC – of all tastes and flavors – is performed at these Downtown venues on most nights:

MUSEUMS are alive and well throughout Downtown, including these 16 destinations:

For more of what’s happening in Downtown and Kansas City, check out our friends at VisitKC.com

Downtown CVS to close for remodeling on March 28

The Downtown CVS store and CVS Pharmacy will close for remodeling at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 28. The store is expected to reopen by mid-June.

The CVS store at 921 Main St. in Downtown Kansas City will close for remodeling at 6 p.m. (today) Wednesday, March 28. The store is expected to re-open in mid-June.

The temporary closure will impact the entire store, including the CVS Pharmacy, the only full-service pharmacy in Downtown. All prescriptions picked up at the Downtown CVS will be transferred to the CVS Pharmacy at 3902 Main St., according to Kurt Reis, store manager.

The CVS remodeling is part of the $139 million redevelopment of the historic Commerce Tower at 911 Main. The CVS, located immediately next door to the Commerce Tower entrance, has signed a new 20-year lease and plans a substantial upgrade, including removing the window covering on Main in order to make it more inviting to passersby.

Reis said the remodeling will produce a fresh and friendly look for the CVS. Changes to the store will include new shelves, new carpeting, an expanded pharmacy space, a revolving door at the store’s entrance, a new north-south layout of shopping aisles, a slight relocation of cash registers and new, clear front windows along Main Street.

Reis explained that the store’s product / grocery mix will not change significantly with the newly remodeled store. All of the store’s personnel will be reassigned to other, local CVS stores during the temporary closure.

Even though the store’s prescriptions will be transferred to the CVS at 39th & Main, Reis said customers may choose to transfer their prescriptions to another CVS location. For more information on prescriptions, customers should contact the CVS Pharmacy at 3902 Main at 816-931-5452. Kaydee Tran is the pharmacy manager and Jeff  Ozenberger is the store manager there.

“Thank you for your patience and for being a valued customer of CVS,” Reis said. “We look forward to seeing you in mid-June in our newly remodeled store.”

Disney on Ice to heat up the urban A&E scene this week

Disney on Ice – complete with nine performances scheduled for the Sprint Center – will rule over the Downtown arts & entertainment scene this week – Monday to Sunday, March 26 to April 1, that includes:

Disney on Ice presents Dare to Dream beginning Wednesday at Sprint Center. Celebrate what’s possible as five Disney heroines spark the courage inside us all in Disney On Ice presents Dare To Dream! Join Moana, Belle, Anna, Rapunzel, and Cinderella as they find the heart and determination to overcome obstacles and make their dreams come true. Dare to Dream will be presented nine times from Wednesday through Sunday.

Belle and her Disney friends will skate into Downtown this week for nine performance of Disney on Ice.

Folly Theater presents Eden Brent in a Cypress Avenue LIVE! performance at 8 p.m. Saturday. Nicknamed “Little Boogaloo” by her Mississippi mentor Boogaloo Ames, Eden is much more than her signature boogie-woogie piano and juke-joint blues holler. She is a celebrated songwriter and dynamic performer, with numerous nominations and awards including eleven Blues Music Award nominations since 2009 and three BMA trophies.

Hip-Hop’s Early Years – Hip-hop is now America’s most popular music genre, supplanting rock. In a discussion of his new book Break Beats in the Bronx, Davidson College sociologist Joseph Ewoodzie examines its roots, going back to hip-hop’s creation by Clive Campbell – DJ Kool Herc – at a birthday party in New York’s West Bronx in 1973. The program is set for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Central Library. RSVP now.

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts will feature the Kansas City Classic Orchestra Festival, presented by the Youth Symphony of Kansas City, in a free, one-day event beginning at 9 a.m. Tuesday. Ninety-minute performances are set for four high school orchestras (Park Hill South, Lawrence, Blue Strings and Olathe South), along with the Youth Symphony of Kansas City Academic and Symphony orchestras.

Knuckleheads Saloon – the hottest honky tonk in the Big Town – features 11 shows this week, including John Hiatt & The Goners at 8 p.m. Tuesday; the Paul Nelson Band / Johnny Winter Allstar Band at 8:30 p.m. Friday; and Carolyn Wonderland with The Nace Brothers at 9 p.m. Saturday.

Meet the Past: Johnny Mercer – Musical theater maestro Oscar Hammerstein once called Johnny Mercer “the most perfect American lyricist alive.” Mercer, as portrayed by New York-area pianist/vocalist John Bauers, sits down with Library Director Crosby Kemper III for a tune-filled public discussion of his life and career in the latest installment of the popular Meet the Past series at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Central Library. RSVP now.

Midland Theatre will feature Matt and Kim – the high-octane, indie electronic duo from Brooklyn – with special guests Cruisr and Twinkids who will light up the city beginning at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

The Art of the Brick – a special exhibition designed to inspire ingenuity and creativity, is the world’s largest and most elaborate display of LEGO art – continues through May 28 at Union Station.

Stanfords Comedy Club brings the laughs to Downtown from its new location at 831 Walnut. Comedian Tai Fu Panda and Kevin Robe – will headline an 18 & older show this week – beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. And, Open Mic is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Sundays. For ticket information, visit Stanfords.

Pop Evil brings its Music Over Words tour to The Truman on Saturday.

The Truman will be bouncing the east Crossroads with one rockin’ show this week – Pop Evil with special guests Black Map and Palaye Royale at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Union Station is featuring a special exhibition on The Art of the Brick,  the critically acclaimed collection of creative and inspiring pieces constructed using only LEGO bricks now through May 28.

John Singer Sargent’s masterpiece ‘Gassed’ is on exhibit now June 3 at the National WWI Museum.

WWI Museum – John Singer Sargent’s incredible masterpiece Gassed is truly one of the giants of the art world at more than nine feet tall by 21 feet long. The landmark painting is the focal point in this special centennial exhibition – that is on exhibition through June 3 in the Wylie Gallery – that also includes reproductions of many of his study drawings and historical and contemporary objects on detection and protection from chemical warfare.

LIVE THEATER is thriving on Downtown stages, which feature four productions this week, including:

  • It’s Delovely – De-Lightful, De-Licious, De-Lovely lyrics abound in this original cabaret tribute to two of the wittiest songwriters of all time – Cole Porter and Noel Coward – which continues through Saturday at the Quality Hill Playhouse.
  • Tuck Everlasting – Natalie Babbitt’s popular novel comes to life on stage contemplating the benefits and burdens of never growing older will run through Thursday, April 5 at The Coterie at Crown Center.

ARTS – your guide to arts and culture in greater Kansas City:

LIVE MUSIC – of all tastes and flavors – is performed at these Downtown venues on most nights:

MUSEUMS are alive and well throughout Downtown, including these 16 destinations:

For more of what’s happening in Downtown and Kansas City, check out our friends at VisitKC.com

The data tell the real Downtown housing story

The KC Streetcar is one of many amenities that’s adding  fuel to the housing boom in Downtown Kansas City.

Guest Commentary by Bill Dietrich  – The Kansas City Star, published March 15, 2018

Maintaining existing affordable housing stock and increasing that inventory are critical for the sustainability and continued growth of greater Downtown Kansas City. We’ve come a long way from the blight of the late 1990’s, but have much work still to do.

In greater Downtown Kansas City today – 31st Street north to the Missouri River, and State Line east to Woodland –  residential housing density is among the lightest of any of our peer cities and many new opportunities remain.

To place Downtown on the path to a long-term, balanced mix of housing inventory will require an updated revitalization strategy. Kansas City has accomplished most of the plan that was published in 2000 by Sasaki Associates. The Downtown Council agrees that it is time to update this plan.

The cost of housing is on Kansas City’s mind because on March 22, the City Council is expected to consider two measures concerning affordable units in future apartment projects from The Cordish Companies. To be successful, strategies need to be based on accurate information. So, here is what the data say, according to federal figures:

  • Department of Housing and Urban Development and census guidelines define affordable rent as up to 30 percent of household gross income. HUD‘s Jackson County individual median income ranges from $41,900 to $52,375.
  • At year-end 2016, there were 14,189 total rental housing units in greater Downtown, and growth continues. According to census data, 6,055 or 42.6 percent of those housing units are considered affordable, according to HUD’s criteria.
  • Market rate rents are increasing as new value is created, growing the tax base.

These data paint a picture of a Downtown with a healthy mix of affordable and market rate housing.

With its residents paying a median 41 percent of their income for housing and transportation, versus 48 percent in the whole city, Downtown rates as the most affordable neighborhood in our region, with 53 percent of its population a cross section of African American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American and those of mixed ancestry –  almost twice as diverse as any other part of our region.

And, currently, 41 percent of the 26,000 residents in greater Downtown are millennials – the largest percentage in any neighborhood in the metropolitan area. As you move away from the city center, the percentage drops to 26 percent for Kansas City and 22 percent for the greater region. Younger generations are our future and we must be competitive to retain them.

In 2000, only those in the vanguard of urban living were willing to pay below-market rents for an apartment in an amenity poor environment.  That is not the case today with arts, culture, entertainment, retail, streetcars, employment opportunities.

Today, the greatest threat to affordable housing begins with the state of Missouri’s ill-conceived refusal to allocate funds for Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, or LIHTC, which are essential to the development of new affordable inventory.

Right now, a 400-unit LIHTC, rent-restricted, affordable housing project planned for the Central Business District is unable to advance without those credits. We should be sounding the alarm. An effective strategy would be to unite as a community to educate legislators on why affordable housing and these tax credits are so important.

LIHTC obligations on existing inventory will be expiring over the next several years.  Property owners will be reviewing their options on what the next iteration will be: continuing as affordable, converting to market rate or another use. Many will determine that the upward delta in rent doesn’t justify the investment required to make their properties competitive.

Understanding the importance of affordable, workforce housing, the Downtown Council remains committed to work with the city and community to develop a comprehensive plan promoting affordability. We are steadfast in our  dedication to attracting new jobs and residents, and growing the tax base within a diverse, affordable and walkable urban community.

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Bill Dietrich is president and CEO of the Downtown Council of Kansas City.

LaunchKC begins countdown for 2018 grants competition

Heather Spalding, CEO of Cambrian Tech, celebrates after learning that her startup company won the $100,000 grand prize at the 2017 LaunchKC competition in September. The application window opens on April 2 for the 2018 grants competition.

LaunchKC, the fourth annual grants competition for tech entrepreneurs, will begin its call for applications on Monday, April 2, as the 100-day online window opens to innovators around the country.

LaunchKC ignited its 2018 promotional campaign on Saturday at SxSW Interactive in Austin, Texas. Drew Solomon, who chairs the Kansas City-based grants competition, made the announcement at Startup Night SxSW 2018, an event presented by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and Tech.Co.

“In its first three grants competitions, LaunchKC awarded $1.5 million in grants to 29 entrepreneurs,” Solomon said. “More than 1,100 entrepreneurs from around the world have applied for grants in those first three competitions.”

LaunchKC is a civic engine in the Kansas City tech startup space. It is committed to elevating KC into one of the nation’s top 10 most livable, viable cities for entrepreneurs to be successful and to celebrate the community’s assets.

Competition Countdown for 2018

  • March 10 – National call for entries at SxSW Interactive in Austin, Texas
  • April 2 – Application window opens at www.launchkc.org
  • July 11 – Application window closes at midnight
  • July to September – Panel of expert judges to review applications and narrow list of contenders to 20 finalists by early September
  • Week of October 8-12 – LaunchKC finalists will be featured throughout the fourth Techweek Kansas City conference
  • October 12 – Selection of 10 grant recipients on LaunchKC Day during the final day of Techweek!

“We are searching for the best and brightest startups or early stage tech businesses to apply and compete for $500,000 in grants,” said Mike Hurd, marketing officer for the Downtown Council and LaunchKC. “We want to help these entrepreneurs make their business dreams come true in Kansas City.”

Of the 29 startup or early stage businesses to receive LaunchKC grants over the last three years, 26 of them – 90 percent – are still in business.

Grant Recipients

The active 26 startups include Big Bang, BlitabBlooom, Cambrian, ConsultUS, FEWDM, Forest Devices, H3 Enterprises, HealthID, HerdDoggIntegrated Roadways, Intelag, iShare Medical, Labor Chart, Mobility+Designed, MusicSpoke, MyCroft, PerfectCube, PlanITImpact, PopBookings, Sickweather, SquareOffs, Super Dispatch, TradeLanes, VideoFizz and Zitches.

LaunchKC Partners

LaunchKC is an initiative of the Downtown Council of Kansas City, Missouri, in collaboration with the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, Missouri.

LaunchKC Sponsors

LaunchKC and its core group of sponsors – who have supported the competition since day #1 – including the Missouri Technology Corporation, along with the City of Kansas City, The Cordish Companies, J.E. Dunn Construction, Husch Blackwell, Kansas City Power & Light, the William T. Kemper Foundation, Lathrop Gage, Lead Bank, the Missouri Department of Economic Development, Polsinelli, Techweek and UMB Bank.

The competition is supported by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Center, the Regnier Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurships, and the UMKC Bloch School of Management.

For more information, contact Mike Hurd, marketing officer for the Downtown Council and LaunchKC at mike@downtownkc.org or 816-447-2136.

Yo-Yo Ma, Eagles, Home Show, Easter hunt & Hoops to rule the week

An “Evening with the Eagles” featuring Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit with Vince Gill and Deacon Frey (son of the late founding Eagle, Glenn Frey) will land at the Sprint Center today (Monday).

The return of legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the NCAA Women’s Basketball Regional, the 70th Annual Home Show, the NAIA national title game, the Citywide Easter Egg Hunt and an Eagles’ visit to The Hotel California create a colorful palette for the A&E scene this week in Downtown – Monday to Sunday, 19-25 – featuring:

Citywide Easter Egg Hunt – presented by the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection Downtown – is set for 10 to noon on Saturday on the south lawn of the National World War I Museum and Memorial. Activities will include a petting zoo, cake decorating, bounce houses, crafts, the Easter Egg hunt, a visit from the Easter Bunny and more family activities. Click here for more information.

Greater Kansas City Home Show is set for this weekend at Bartle Hall. The 70th annual Home Show brings together more than 250 builders, remodelers, landscapers, designers and contractors featuring the latest design trends and construction materials. Click here to view the stage schedule for the Main stage and the Kids Zone and click here to view the entire 2018 Home Show guide. The Home Show will be open from noon to 8 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. For tickets and more information, visit the Home Show online.

Hallmark Visitors Center presents Pop Art – Then & Nowa free exhibit that features artists who were key figures in the 1960s, along with artists who were influenced by them, including works by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Keith Haring, now through June 16.

Heartland Men’s Chorus presents Abba Cadabra! Put on your disco boots and join the “dancing queens” at the C. Stephen Metzler Hall at the Folly Theater, as HMC celebrates one of the greatest bands in popular history! Performances – featuring everything in the ABBA repertoire from “Take A Chance On Me!” to “Mamma Mia” – are set for 8 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday.

Legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma will light up the Kauffman Center this week on Thursday through Sunday. This photo captures him in concert with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and conductor Ricardo Muti

Kauffman Center for the Performing will feature nine red hot performances this week, including:

  • Spring Strings – a free, one-hour, casual performance by members of the Kansas City Symphony that begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Helzberg Hall. A cash bar happy hour will open the event at 5 p.m.
  • Yo-Yo Ma – The legendary cellist will join the Kansas City Symphony’s Charles and Virginia Clark Inside Music Series at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in Helzberg Hall. Following a unique coaching session, Yo-Yo Ma will join Music Director Michael Stern and Kansas City Mayor Sly James for an on-stage discussion about the importance of the arts in community. This event is free and open to the public, however, tickets are required.
  • Let It Be – a celebration of the music of The Beatles – will rock over three performances at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre. Jam-packed with more than 40 of The Beatles’ greatest hits, this touring show is a Theater League presentation.
  • A Century of Bernstein features legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma with music director Michael Stern and the Kansas City Symphony presenting works by Bernstein, Haydn, Respighi and a world premiere by the impressive young American composer Chris Rogerson. for three monumental performances at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday in Helzberg Hall.
  • Miranda Sings Live … You’re Welcome – Miranda Sings (aka actress, comedian and singer Colleen Ballinger) has become an international phenomenon whose YouTube channel has amassed more than 8 million devoted subscribers and over 1 billion views. This special live show is set for 7 p.m. Sunday in the Kauffman Theatre.

Knuckleheads Saloon – the hottest honky tonk in the Big Town – features 13 performances this week, including JD Wilkes with the Shack Shakers Unplugged at 8 p.m. Wednesday; Kyle Cook of Matchbox 20 after-party show at 10:30 p.m. Friday; and The M80’s at 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

Midland Theatre will feature comedian Franco Escamilla on his RPM tour at 8 p.m. Friday.

NAIA Men’s Basketball Championship will reach its crescendo today (Monday) and Tuesday, as the 81st Division I Men’s National Championship prepares for the semi-finals and championship of its seven-day run at Municipal Auditorium. The semi-finals open at 6 p.m. Tuesday, as No. 1 seed Shreveport (La.) squares offs against No. 5 Graceland (Iowa), followed at 8 p.m. by No. 4 seed Alexandria (La.) doing battle with No. 1 William Penn (Iowa). The winners will advance or the National Championship Game at 7 p.m. Tuesday. For tickets and more information, visit the NAIA.

The NCAA Women’s Basketball Regional Tournament will light up Downtown this weekend at the Sprint Center.

Sprint Center will be rocking this week with three HUGE dates, including:

  • Eagles will soar into Downtown KC today for a  concert at 8 p.m. Monday. An “Evening with the Eagles” will feature Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit with Vince Gill and Deacon Frey.
  • NCAA Women’s Basketball Regional will explode on the Downtown scene with semifinal games at 6 and 8:30 p.m. Friday and the championship game – complete with an invitation to the Final Four – on the line at 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

Stanfords Comedy Club brings the laughs to Downtown from its new location at 831 Walnut. Comedian Billy Bazar will headline an 18 & older show this week – beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. And, Open Mic is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Sundays. For ticket information, visit Stanfords.

John Singer Sargent’s masterpiece ‘Gassed’ is on exhibit now June 3 at the National WWI Museum.

WWI Museum – John Singer Sargent’s incredible masterpiece Gassed is truly one of the giants of the art world at more than nine feet tall by 21 feet long. The landmark painting is the focal point in this special centennial exhibition – that is on exhibition through June 3 in the Wylie Gallery – that also includes reproductions of many of his study drawings and historical and contemporary objects on detection and protection from chemical warfare.

LIVE THEATER is thriving on Downtown stages, which feature four productions this week, including:

  • It’s Delovely – De-Lightful, De-Licious, De-Lovely lyrics abound in this original cabaret tribute to two of the wittiest songwriters of all time – Cole Porter and Noel Coward – which continues through March 31 at the Quality Hill Playhouse.
  • Sex with Strangers – Desire, intellect, and secret agendas collide in this smart, tantalizing take on modern love and the double-edged quest for artistic validation in the digital age. This KC Rep production runs through Sunday at the Copaken Stage at H&R Block.
  • Tuck Everlasting – Natalie Babbitt’s popular novel comes to life on stage contemplating the benefits and burdens of never growing older will run through April 5 at The Coterie at Crown Center.

ARTS – your guide to arts and culture in greater Kansas City:

LIVE MUSIC – of all tastes and flavors – is performed at these Downtown venues on most nights:

MUSEUMS are alive and well throughout Downtown, including these 16 destinations:

For more of what’s happening in Downtown and Kansas City, check out our friends at VisitKC.com

‘Beyond the Loop’ seeks to relieve Downtown freeway damage

Rendering of how a reconnected Independence Avenue could look in River Market. (Image from Beyond the Loop)

Beyond the Loop, a Downtown planning strategy for the future of the North Loop freeway, Buck O’Neil Bridge and Independence Avenue, is holding two public meetings this month to refine potential alternatives, according to Kevin Collison on CitySceneKC.com.

City and state officials have come up with a $200 million, long-term plan to build a new O’Neil (formerly Broadway) bridge that would directly connect 169 Highway and Interstate 35, and provide an exit to Downtown.

Moving forward with that replacement project is contingent on city voters renewing the 1 percent capital improvement tax in April.

The bridge project is listed as a short- and medium-term goal in a recent strategic infrastructure vision report prepared by the Downtown Council infrastructure and open spaces committee.

According to the committee, a new O’Neil bridge would better connect through traffic to I-35, be a more attractive gateway to downtown, resolve awkward traffic flow issues on Fifth and Sixth streets and improve access to the River Market and West Bottoms.

In the meantime, repairs to the O’Neil bridge are expected to begin in late spring. It will require the closing of southbound lanes, but northbound traffic will continue. The work is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

The future of the North Loop and Independence Avenue is less clear. The Beyond the Loop process has studied potentially narrowing of the North Loop freeway corridor, which separates the River Market from downtown, and possibly downgrading it to a boulevard.

Beyond the Loop also has considered a plan to lower the Missouri 9 highway embankment and reconnecting Independence Avenue, a move that would reunite the River Market with the Columbus Park neighborhood. The estimated cost of reconnecting the avenue is $54 million.

Last September, a national panel of Urban Land Institute experts recommended the Independence Avenue project be a priority.

As for the North Loop concepts, the ULI panel said those major investments would not be cost effective until at least 2028. The Downtown Council infrastructure committee however, considers improvements to the North Loop between the O’Neil and Kit Bond bridges to be a short- and long-term goal.

“Should this be a parkway, covered highway, traffic redirected to I-670 (South Loop) and closed for development, or just efficiency improvements by redesigning the access points?” asked the committee.

In a separate Downtown freeway study sponsored by the Downtown Council, engineers at HNTB have determined a four-block section of the South Loop could be decked with a park for an estimated $139 million. The 1960s era freeway separates Downtown from the Crossroads Arts District.

Open houses for the Beyond the Loop process are set for 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 21, at the Mid-America Regional Council offices at 600 Broadway, and 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 22 at iWerx, 1520 Clay St., North Kansas City. You can RSVP here.

Review displays, assessments of the refined alternatives and results of future traffic models will be at either open house. For more information contact Martin Rivarola at 816-474-4240.

To see more coverage of Downtown news, check out CitySceneKC.com early and often.