Sit back, relax and celebrate 816 Day on Thursday, 8/16

Downtown Kansas City will celebrate 816Day – a “holiday” inspired by Kansas City’s area code to celebrate civic pride and everything that’s great about KC next Thursday, Aug. 16. Yep, 8/16 is 816Day.

“The goal for 816Day is to connect people with our local businesses, service industries and artistic & cultural organizations,” said Jared Campbell, president of the Downtown Neighborhood Association and a leading organizer of the event.

Locals and visitors are invited to celebrate and appreciate the best of what local businesses and organizations have to offer during 816Day branded events – oftentimes, happy hours or food/drinks specials on Aug. 16. Early examples of participating organizations include:

  • KC Streetcar will participate in several 816Day events next Thursday, including a local sketch artist drawing portraits of riders – along with the streetcar and Downtown scenes – from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • John’s Big Deck, 928 Wyandotte, will be a featured 816Day party location from 5-11 p.m. with a DJ, food and drink specials, and local goodies and giveaways, including concert tickets.
  • The City Market will feature a free ’90s themed 816 Day concert featuring ThunderJacket from 5:30-730 p.m., along with an 816Day party at Brown & Loe, featuring beer, wine, water and a signature 816 Day cocktail specials.

City Market businesses are also being asked to set up a presence during the concert to help promote themselves and Kansas City.

Campbell also issued an invitation for Downtown restaurants, bars, coffee shops, retailers and destinations to participate in 816Day by providing KC-themed specials on local goods and services, live music, great food, nightlife and entertainment:

What?: How your business can take part in 816DAY?

  • Restaurants, Bars & Entertainment Venues
    • Create an event or party at your business.
    • Already have an event scheduled? Great! Brand it as part of 816Day.
      • Live music, DJ,/ Karaoke / Bar Games: Cornhole, Large Jenga / Trivia / Contests & Giveaway
    • Offer unique food & beverage specials.
    • Already have a food and drink special planned for that day? Perfect! Brand it as part of 816Day.
      • Reduced Admission or Free Event
      • Feature locally made or produced products? KC themed food special
      • Create KC themed cocktails
  • Retail & Other Service Industry Businesses
    • Offer specials/sales on goods and services
    • Already have a sale on goods and services planned for that day? Super! Brand it in part of 816Day
      • Feature KC apparel
      • Feature KC made products
      • Decorate your business with a KC/816 theme

For questions or more information, contact info@dnakcmo.org.

816Day is presented in cooperation by the DNA , Do816.com, the Downtown Council of Kansas City, the Crossroads Community Association, KC Streetcar, John’s Big Deck, the City Market, and the KC Power & Light District.

$95 million makeover to bring new glory to historic Star building

A food hall, boutique grocer and office complex along 18th Street is planned along with renovation of the historic Kansas City Star building. (Image from 3D Development)

Courtesy, Kevin Collison, CityScene KC

(Update: Development agreement approved unanimously by City Council Thursday)

A $95 million redevelopment plan for the former Kansas City Star property that includes renovating the historic structure, and building a boutique grocery store and marketplace above a 500-space underground garage has cleared its first hurdle at City Hall.

Developer Vincent Bryant laid out his ambitious plan to a Kansas City Council committee Thursday, saying he wanted to make the former Star campus the economic center of the Crossroads area.

In a prepared statement, he said, “We hope this development will be the trailhead of an 18th Street Corridor that extends connection from the Crossroads east to Vine Street.

“Physically and architecturally, these buildings are visual landmarks that offer a nod to Kansas City’s rich history, a history we intend to highlight and build upon for generations to come.”

Bryant and his local ownership group purchased the newspaper building at 1729 Grand last year for $12 million from McClatchy, the Star’s owner.

The historic Kansas City Star building opened in 1911 and was expanded in 1924. Current newspaper employees have been consolidated in the green Press Pavilion building in upper corner. (Image from 3D Development)

Key components of the redevelopment plan which covers the block between Grand and McGee, from 17th to 18th streets:

  • Renovation of the 225,000 square-foot existing building into office, data center and retail space. The historic structure was designed by Jarvis Hunt and opened in 1911. An addition was built in 1924.
  • Construction of a 45,000 square-foot food hall, boutique grocery store and office complex on the south side of the property along 18th Street. It would be separated from the historic building by about 90 feet. The three-level grocery and office building would be on the northwest corner of 18th and McGee, the food hall would be oriented toward the northeast corner of 18th and Grand.
  • Construction of a 500-space, four-level garage beneath the food hall and grocery/office building. Bryant said building underground would avoid blocking views of the historic building.
  • Eventual construction of a three-story office building at the north side of the property at the northeast corner of 17th and Grand.
  • A sports pub with several outdoor sand volleyball courts on the north side of the property at the northwest corner of 17th and McGee.

The project also includes an event hall, dining hall for tenants and guests, and outdoor meeting space.

To read the complete story with more images, go to CityScene KC.

 

Western Auto sign to light up Downtown once again

The iconic Western Auto sign – erected in 1952 – will once again light up the Downtown sky. A lighting ceremony for the newly renovated sign is set for 8:45 p.m. today (Friday).

The iconic Western Auto sign is will light up the Downtown Kansas City sky once again, beginning tonight (Friday).

The top of that wedge-shaped building at 21st Street and Grand Boulevard used to come alive each night with light and color as the Western Auto sign blazed above Kansas City, according to The Kansas City Star.

The 65-year-old sign – which has been dark for years – will be illuminated again beginning at 8:45 p.m. today (Friday). The words “Western Auto” will be in red while white lights will form a repeating circular arrow around them.

You can thank the members of the Western Auto Lofts Condominium Association, who live in the building. They footed the bill to repair and restore the iconic sign, according to The Starwhich reported:

  • The sign is 73 feet high and 70 feet across. The letters are 10 feet tall.
  • The arrow is 150 feet long and is made of 30 tons of steel. It included about 2,500 incandescent bulbs.
  • The sign also incorporates about 1,000 feet of red and green neon tubing. It required five miles of wiring.

“The association is thrilled to give this gift back to the residents of Kansas City and can’t wait to be a part of the skyline once more,” said an announcement on the association’s Facebook page.

To read the complete story, visit The Kansas City Star.

CID Ambassador Moon receives first Harvey Fried Award

The first Harvey Fried Award was presented to CID Ambassador Daniel Moon, center, by Sean O’Byrne, left, executive director of the CIDs, and Mark Rowlands, director of the CIDs. The Fried Award was created in 2018 to honor outstanding service by Community Improvement District ambassadors in Downtown and the River Market.

Daniel Moon has been awarded the 2018 (and first) Harvey Fried Award in recognition of outstanding service by a CID Ambassador.

Moon, 38, has been a Safety Ambassador for 13 of his 14 years working for the Community Improvement Districts.

Harvey Fried

“Daniel is an ideal Ambassador,” said Mark Rowlands, director of the CIDs. “He is naturally friendly, happy and has a heart for helping people. He’s just built that way.”

Born in Buford, Georgia, Moon moved to Kansas City when he was 10. He attended Southwest High School, and always had a passion for working Downtown. The Community Improvement District gave him that opportunity in 2004, as a Maintenance Ambassador. A year later, he was promoted to Safety Ambassador.

“While we have many Ambassadors who deserve this award, we are proud to give the first Harvey Fried Award to Daniel Moon,” said Sean O’Byrne, executive director of the CIDs. “Even though Daniel is always friendly and smiling, it doesn’t mean that he can’t get tough when the situation calls for it.”

“I was surprised and honored to win the ‘Harvey’,” Moon said. “I like to keep a smile on my face. And, when you do that, I believe something great is going to happen.”

The new, annual Harvey Fried Award is named for the venerable champion of Downtown Kansas City, who passed away on April 30. Harvey was a community leader and friend of the CIDs. He was a founding board member of the Downtown CID, and served in that role since 2002, including board secretary in 2018.

“Harvey had a special place in his heart for our Ambassadors, and I want them to know his legacy,” O’Byrne said, when he addressed a Celebration of Life for Harvey in late May. “The award will be presented annually in recognition of leadership, esprit de corps, compassion to others, and – above all else – kindness.

“Harvey was a great man. We want to make sure his memory lives on.”

NY Times shines global spotlight on Downtown KC

The KC Streetcar: Credit Anna Petrow for The New York Times

The Perfect Way to Explore Modern Kansas City? A Streetcar, Believe It or Not

The contemporary trolley, introduced in 2016, takes visitors to an arts district, an entertainment district and a happy state of mind.

By Richard Rubin, The New York Times

In 2002, when Sylvester “Sly” James moved his law office to downtown Kansas City, Mo., he made a wager with a colleague. “I bet him I could walk across Main Street naked at 6 p.m. and nobody would see it,” he recalled. “And the proof that I was right is that no video of that has ever shown up on YouTube.” Downtown, he said, “was freakin’ desolate.”

A decade later, Chris Hernandez remembered, he saw an item on the local news about a two-car accident downtown one evening at 7. “I took it as a sign that things were turning around,” he said. “There were actually two cars there to hit each other!”

As it turns out, Mr. Hernandez was onto something: Things were, in fact, starting to turn around. Today Kansas City can be said to have actually achieved the elusive dream of scores of proud old American cities that have seen better days: It has revived its downtown, which now skews closer to “bustling” than “desolate” many nights.

Mr. Hernandez is the city’s director of communications; Mr. James is its mayor. Both can rattle off countless examples of nearly miraculous urban revitalization: thriving businesses in storefronts that stood vacant for years; gleaming new high-rise apartment blocks that are largely (some say entirely) rented out even before they’re completed; vibrant arts and culinary scenes. But you can see what is arguably the single best embodiment of the phenomenon for yourself at regular intervals as you stroll along — or even stand still on — downtown’s Main Street.

If at this point your mind absolutely must drift to 1940s musical lyrics, I recommend nudging it away from “everything’s up to date in Kansas City” and toward “clang clang clang went the trolley” (even though, technically, that one is set in St. Louis; same state, anyway).

Pizzas at Il Lazzarone, a restaurant at the River Market West streetcar stop. Credit: Anna Petrow for The New York Times

Yes: Kansas City has a trolley. And not one of those old-timey trolleys that doesn’t go much of anywhere and goes there slowly. The one in Kansas City is sleek. Modern. Has air-conditioning and Wi-Fi.It runs a real route — 2.2 miles from end to end, then back again — through the heart of downtown.

At peak times, like rush hour, one comes along every 10 minutes; off-peak, it’s more like every 12 to 18 minutes. (Every stop has digital kiosks announcing how soon the next one will be along.) It starts running at 6 a.m. and doesn’t stop until midnight on weeknights, 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. (This being the Midwest, on Sundays it starts late — 7 a.m. — and shuts down early, at 11 p.m.)

Oh: And it’s free.

And not, technically, a trolley; they take great care here to remind you (cheerfully) that it’s a streetcar. That may seem like a distinction without a difference, but it reflects the way the city and its denizens view it. A trolley, in this day and age, is a self-conscious quaintness, almost an amusement-park ride; a streetcar, on the other hand — as Mr. Hernandez explained — is more of a “pedestrian accelerator.”

And, as it turns out, an attraction, too.

The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Credit: Anna Petrow for The New York Times

In my experience, the whole “Midwestern nice” thing can be overstated; but not when it comes to Kansas City. Step off the KC Streetcar (as it is officially known) and look around as if you don’t know where you are going and a passer-by will stop and ask where you’re trying to get to. Sport that expression while you’re still riding it and someone sitting across the aisle from you will do the same thing. Ask them how they like the streetcar and they will tell you, sincerely and in a fair bit of detail.And they do like it. They ride it. The city — which has a population just under a half-million — projected one million riders in the streetcar’s first year; it got twice as many by day 364. A year later that figure exceeded four million.

No one would have predicted such a phenomenon as recently as the beginning of this decade.Back then, Mr. James recalled, “things were slow here. People were depressed. They didn’t believe the city could do things.”

But then Kansas City won a lottery of sorts: In the spring of 2011 — just as Mr. James was starting his first term as mayor — Google announced that it would be inaugurating its broadband internet and television service, Google Fiber, there. “That was a big boost,” Mr. James recalled. “Google was putting us on the map — we could leverage that.”

They did. The streetcar — which made its first run on May 6, 2016 — wasn’t by any means the only element of downtown’s revitalization, but it was perhaps the boldest, and certainly the most dynamic. “It’s been a tremendous catalytic thing,” Mr. James said. “It’s created much more flow—more profits for businesses downtown, more foot traffic.” In the streetcar’s first year of operation, revenue from sales taxes along its route — an area known as the Transportation Development District, or T.D.D. — rose 54 percent, as opposed to 16 percent citywide.

Birdie’s, a boutique in the Crossroads Arts District. Credit: Anna Petrow for The New York Times

If this seems like a boon for those businesses, you could say they earned it: “They decided it would be free,” the mayor explains — paid for by a special assessment on business owners and residential landlords along the T.D.D. (The construction boom in new high rises that are rented out before they’re even completed would seem to indicate that landlords are O.K. with the surtax, too.) “The funds,” Mr. James said, “are more than sufficient to cover the costs. It’s worked out very well.”

Unlike most successful ventures, few individuals have claimed credit for Kansas City’s streetcar; most, when asked, will give you an answer like Mr. Hernandez’s: “It was a very grass-roots effort,” he said. “How to create the streetcar, where it should go. Businesses and residents were involved at every step — where to have stops, their exact placement, even what they should look like.”

The route they all devised does a good job of introducing downtown Kansas City to both tourists and locals who had never really gotten acquainted with it before — and, perhaps coincidentally, showcasing the area’s revival.

It starts and ends at the point where decades of visitors arrived at and departed from the city: Union Station, an imposing 1914 classical structure that, despite its grandeur and the fact that it once hosted more than a half million travelers a year, was actually closed for a decade and a half in the 1980s and 90s; today it’s a museum as well as a functioning rail depot, and the anchor of a neighborhood that includes the Crown Center,an indoor shopping and entertainment complex, and the National World War I Memorial and Museum.

Farmers sell fresh meats and produce at City Market at River Market. Credit: Anna Petrow for The New York Times

Heading north, it stops next at the Crossroads Arts District, a neighborhood of old warehouses and factories that have been reclaimed as live/work spaces and is now home to a lively arts scene. Then comes the Power & Light District — named for an Art Deco 1931 skyscraper that was for decades both the home of the local electric utility company and the tallest building west of the Mississippi — which is the city’s newest entertainment district; it features the Sprint Center (a sports and concert arena), Kansas City Live! (a block-square outdoor atrium surrounded by pubs and restaurants and containing a performance stage and massive Jumbotron), most of those new residential high rises and, naturally, the world headquarters of H & R Block.

The next stop is Metro Center, home to government buildings, business offices, hotels, cafes and restaurants; then the Library stop, named for the city’s Central Library, which occupies a 1906 bank building that features 13-foot-high bronze doors, a roof garden with a life-size chess set, and a basement vault that has been converted to a movie theater; then the North Loop, which doesn’t have much of note yet except a neat older Western Union building and a neat newer office building known as “the flashcube” because, well, it looks like a flashcube; and finally the River Market, which includes old warehouses that have been converted to lofts, lots of restaurants and an expansive farmer’s market that has been going year-round since 1857.

There are edifices worthy of a good long look all along the route, but none more arresting than what you will spot looking out the window to your left as you shuttle from Crossroads to Power & Light: There, up on a hill, is the Moshe Safdie-designed Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, which opened in 2011 and which, depending upon your aesthetic sensibilities, you will find either sublime or terrifying.

The National World War I Memorial and Museum. Credit: Anna Petrow for The New York Times

It contains two 1,500-plus-seat theaters, each of which, I am told, has fine acoustics; the building, which sits on more than 18 acres, is said to have been so well-designed that it can and often does host two different performances simultaneously without any aural crossover. In addition to hosting touring companies, the city’s symphony orchestra and opera and ballet companies all call it home. “We have a very strong arts scene here in Kansas City,” Jean Luzader, a volunteer at the Kauffman Center, told me. “People think we have cows running through the streets, you know, but we don’t.”

Streetcars — once almost ubiquitous, later almost extinct — are having a moment: In the past five years, lines have also started operating in Salt Lake City, Tucson, Dallas, Cincinnati and Detroit. (Two others, in Milwaukee and Oklahoma City, are scheduled to open by the end of this year.) Some have been more successful and transformative than others, but few seem to have had the impact of Kansas City’s. It’s the only one that’s free to ride, but what really makes it distinct is the palpable sense that is more than just a way of moving people around: It’s a movement — one that, judging by the crowds riding on weekends, transcends age and ethnicity.

Everyone seems to like each other, too. “When you’re on the streetcar,” Mr. Hernandez said, “you truly get a sense of community. It gets people off their phones and talking to each other again. I see it every time I’m on it. I think people who are from Kansas City are having fun talking to visitors and telling them about places they should check out.”

The Crossroads Arts District. Credit: Anna Petrow for The New York Times

Of course, many of them — locals and visitors — are there to check out the streetcar itself.Riding it around and around will strike a certain type of person as a fine — not to mention economical — way to pass a few hours. Technically, you’re supposed to get off and re-board every time it pulls into Union Station; but this being the Midwest, no one will get too terribly upset if you stay put instead. Just smile.


Richard Rubin is the author of “The Last of the Doughboys” and “Back Over There.”

Correction: 

An earlier version of this article inaccurately described Kansas City’s location in relation to the Mississippi River. It is west of the river, not east.

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page TR9 of the New York edition with the headline: It’s Not Named Desire, but They Love It Just the Same. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

Mayor Barnes honored for her legacy, commitment to Downtown

Mayor Sly James praises former Mayor Kay Barnes accomplishments at the celebration last week.

By Kevin Collison, CitySceneKC.com

Former Mayor Kay Barnes now has the Convention Center Grand Ballroom named after her, but her lasting legacy was on display beyond the windows of the ballroom lobby where the event was held last week.

From its vantage point above the South Loop freeway, the Sprint Center, H&R Block office tower and Power & Light District were clearly visible.

“Look out the window and you’ll see what Kay did,” Mayor Sly James told the audience. “I have a sense of what that took. People don’t like the way things are, but they hate change. Kay Barnes set the stage for this city’s revival that we see continuing to flourish today.”

Barnes became mayor in 1999 when much of the south third of the Central Business District was in shambles after decades of neglect. Attorney Herb Kohn, who was master of ceremony at the ballroom dedication ceremony, checked off the sad list.

“Downtown consisted of a wig shop, a dirty bookstore, a massage parlor and lots of empty office buildings,” he said, adding a couple of those buildings were used as haunted houses a few weeks out of the year. “Kay’s vision was clear, ‘I want to rebuild Downtown.'”

Former Mayor Barnes enjoys unveiling of sculpture honoring her, “Woman Walking Tall” by Kansas City artist Tom Corbin.

The first step was persuading H&R Block to relocate its headquarters from Main Street near the Country Club Plaza to 13th and Main. At the same time, Baltimore-based Cordish Co. was approached about creating an entertainment district on the surrounding eight blocks.

The third critical piece of the revival puzzle was when Barnes used her friendship with Tim Leiweke, then a top executive at Los Angles-based Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) to partner on a new arena at Truman Road and Grand. It didn’t hurt that Barnes had met Phil Anschutz, the AEG founder, while both attended the University of Kansas.

Click here to read the complete story in CitySceneKC.Com, including a video clip of the event.

Don’t miss any Downtown news, sign up for our weekly CityScene KC email review here.

Voters say YES to KC Streetcar extension to UMKC

The KC Streetcar reached a milestone on Wednesday, as voters approved local funding for 3.5-mile extension from Union Station to the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Voters in the Main Street Rail Transportation Development District (TDD) have overwhelmingly approved the local funding structure to support the KC Streetcar Main Street Extension. The final tally was roughly 75.6 percent yes on Question 1 (sales tax) and 74.7 percent yes on Question 2 (special assessments). Final results are available on the KC Election Board website,

In August 2017, these same voters approved formation of the Kansas City Main Street Rail TDD with a 70 percent yes vote and in October 2017, entire slate of TDD Board of Directors endorsed by Mayor Sly James was elected to oversee the TDD. This was the third in a series of local elections to seek local approval for a KC Streetcar Main Street Extension project.

The Main Street Rail TDD is a separate entity from the Kansas City Streetcar Authority and the City of Kansas City, Missouri. This latest election allows the TDD Board of Directors to impose the TDD’s revenue sources, which will generate local funding to support the Main Street extension of the KC Streetcar.

The TDD’s revenue sources will not be collected until the extension is fully funded, either through Federal grants or other non-TDD sources and will replace and expand the existing downtown TDD used to support the starter-line’s construction and operations. The TDD boundary extends from the Missouri River on the north to 53rd Street on the south; State Line Road on the west to Campbell Street on the east.

“We are grateful for the voter’s support today and will work closely with the KCSA, the City of Kansas City and the KCATA to ensure this projects’ success. We are also grateful for all the hard work, time and energy put in by the volunteers and transit advocates during this election process,” said Jan Marcason, chair of the TDD.

The funding structure is similar to the current downtown TDD structure in which:

  • A sales tax not to exceed 1 percent on retail sales within the TDD boundary.
  • A special assessment on real estate within the TDD boundary, with maximum annual rates as follows:
    • 48¢ for each $100 of assessed value for commercial property
    • 70¢ for each $100 of assessed value for residential property
    • $1.04 for each $100 of assessed value for property owned by the City
  • 40¢ for each $100 of assessed value for real property exempt from property tax, such as religious, educational, charitable, etc. property, but only on market value more than $300,000 and less than $50 Million.

A supplemental special assessment on surface pay parking lots within the TDD boundary (not garages and not free parking lots). The maximum rate for the supplemental special assessment on surface pay parking lots will be $54.75 per space per year. This special assessment primarily applies to parcels in the Downtown area.

“The completion of our local funding mechanism is a critical step necessary to advance this project for federal funding and bring the project to life,” said Tom Gerend, executive director with the Kansas City Streetcar Authority. “This is one step in a long process but the strong support from the public is a great motivator for all of us and reinforces the importance of making this vision a reality.”

The KC Streetcar project team, consisting of the KC Streetcar Authority (KCSA), the KC Area Transportation Authority (KCATA), the City of Kansas City, MO (KCMO), and the consultant team led by HDR, Inc., has continued to advance the project planning for the Main Street Extension to UMKC, including work to refine streetcar stop locations, track alignments, and coordinated transit connections.

The KC Streetcar Main Street Extension project is being planned through a data-driven process. In order to build the best streetcar extension for Kansas City, the planning group is looking at operational efficiency, cost, constructability and public input. The Main Street extension would run from Union Station to the vicinity of the University of Missouri-Kansas City at approximately 51st and Main Street.

The project team recently held two public meetings in order to gather community input on stop locations and track alignment. A final recommendation from the project team about stop locations and track alignment, along with projected cost, will be available to the public this summer.

Be prepared: Japanese beetles are back in KC

Japanese beetles have returned to the Kansas City area. Here are tips on how to identify and get rid of the bugs.

Japanese beetles, those colorful, small bugs that carry a big threat, are making their seasonal return to Kansas City this month.

The Downtown Council has gathered some basic information about Japanese beetles – and ways to get rid of them – as a service to property owners and members. This information was drawn from sources including Kansas City Parks & Recreation, K-State Research and Extension and the Old Farmers Almanac.

Japanese beetles can be troublesome on two fronts. The adults feed on a wide variety of plant materials including: rose, grape, crabapple, linden and birch. The grub can be a pest of the lawn, feeding on the roots, according to K-State Research and Extension.

The beetles do not discriminate on what types of plants they feed on. Japanese beetles are ½ inch in length with metallic blue-green heads, copper backs, tan wings, and small white hairs lining each side of the abdomen. Japanese beetles usually feed in small groups. They lay eggs in the soil during June, which develop into tiny white grubs with brown heads and six legs that are up to ¾ inch in length. These grubs will remain under wraps for about 10 months, overwintering and growing in the soil, according to the Old Farmers Almanac.

They emerge from the soil as adult beetles and begin feeding in June. Reports are already surfacing around Kansas City that the beetles have begun their return here. They usually attack plants in groups, which is why damage is so severe.

Although the lifecycle of the adult Japanese beetle is barely 40 days, it can cover a lot of ground. Even if you succeed in controlling your Japanese beetle population, your neighbor’s Japanese beetles might come on over.

Damage from the adults is defoliation of the host plant. The good news is, many well established plants will be able to tolerate minor feeding with no loss in vigor. The feeding tends to be more in mid to late summer, which means the plant has had more time to store food reserves for next year, according to K-State Research and Extension.

They can devour most of the foliage on favored plants like roses. Look for leaves that are “skeletonized” (only have veins remaining). This is a tell-tale sign of Japanese Beetles, reports the Old Farmers Almanac.

Grubs damage grass when overwintering in the soil, as they eat the roots of lawn grasses and garden plants.

japanese-beetle-damage.jpg
Photo Credit: The Ohio State University. Japanese beetles cause leaves to appear skeletonized.

HOW TO GET RID OF JAPANESE BEETLES

Options for controlling Japanese beetles range from doing nothing to hand removal or chemical sprays.

The Old Farmers Almanac points to several of options, including row covers, hand picking, neem oil, use of a dropcloth, insecticides, traps (see next three paragraphs), fruit cocktail and geraniums.

Japanese beetle traps can be helpful in controlling large numbers of beetles, however they also might attract beetles from beyond your yard. Unfortunately, the traps do not effectively suppress adults and might even result in a higher localized population. If you want to try traps, be sure to place traps far away from plants so that the beetles do not land on your favored plants on their way to the traps.

According to Kansas City Parks & Recreation, several kinds of traps are available that use a floral scent and/or sex attractant to lure beetles into a net, jar or bag where the beetles can be contained until disposed of. In heavily-infested areas, traps may catch hundreds or thousands of beetles in the course of the summer.

Unfortunately, this is a small percentage of the beetles in the area and makes no lasting impact on the beetle population or on the plant damage experienced. The use of traps is not recommended. Research conducted in Kentucky and elsewhere found the traps do not control moderate to heavy infestations. The traps may attract more beetles than they catch and actually add more beetles to the yard than would occur otherwise. 

 japanese-beetle-identification-control.jpg
Photo Credit: Jeff Hahn, University of Minnesota. Sometimes the easiest way to get rid of Japanese beetles is to pick them off the plants before they do too much damage.

HOW TO PREVENT JAPANESE BEETLES

Unfortunately, there is no magic potion to get rid of this pest. For general preventive maintenance, experts recommend keeping your landscape healthy. Remove diseased and poorly nourished trees as well as any prematurely ripening or diseased fruits, which can attract Japanese beetles.

For more information, check the sources cited in this post, as well as professional lawn / tree care service providers in the Kansas City area.

 

Rehab work on Buck O’Neil Bridge to begin Saturday

Rehabilitation work on the Buck O’Neil Bridge is scheduled to begin on Saturday! And, the southbound lanes of Route 169 across the Buck O’Neil/Broadway Bridge will be CLOSED to all traffic through Dec. 1, according to the Missouri Department of Transportation

Suggested detours include:

  • Southbound traffic on Route 169 and I-29 will be directed to Southbound I-35 and across the Christopher S. Bond Bridge.
  • Traffic entering onto Southbound Route 69 south of I-29 will be directed to Southbound Route 9 and across The Heart of America Bridge.
  • A single lane of Route 169 will remain open south of Route 9 to allow access to the Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport.  All traffic using this lane will be forced off of Southbound Route 169 at the Richards Road exit.

The northbound lanes of Route 169 will remain open across the bridge through the entire length of the project.

The Buck O’Neil Bridge is more than 60 years old and sees on average of about 40,000 vehicles each work day. Crews will be working to repair cables, railing and expansion joints on the structure.  The overall project should be completed by December 2018.

For more details, go to http://www.modot.org/kansascity/major_projects/Buck_ONeil_bridge.htm

For more information about MoDOT news, projects or events, visit the website at www.modot.mo.gov/kansascity. For instant updates, follow MoDOT_KC on Twitter, or share posts and comments on our Facebook at www.facebook.com/MoDOT.KansasCity.

KC Streetcar tops 4 million passenger trips in 2 years

 

The KC Streetcar celebrated its second birthday on Sunday by simply doing its job.

Two years earlier, the Downtown KC Streetcar service opened to much fanfare after five years of planning, designing and construction. With four vehicles and 2.2 miles of route, the KC Streetcar completed 4,037,499 trips since opening day in 2016.

“In two short years, Downtown residents, employees, and visitors have embraced the KC Streetcar and have ridden at record numbers. The transformation of Downtown and the excitement its generated is nothing but remarkable,” said Tom Gerend, executive director of KC Streetcar Authority. “We thank Kansas City and greater Downtown, including our partners with the City of Kansas City and the KC Area Transportation Authority for the amazing support and believe the best is yet to come.”

During the first two years of service, the KC Streetcar traveled 257,840 miles and logged 32,550 vehicle hours. The KC Streetcar team (operations and maintenance) has 30 employees who keep the streetcar running 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

In addition to providing free, reliable and efficient public transit, the KC Streetcar also supports local businesses, events and the arts community by supporting programs such as Art in the Loop, National Travel & Tourism Week, Downtown Dazzle, Techweek Kansas City, and more.

The KC Streetcar is not the only thing seeing an increase in numbers.  Downtown Kansas City is also booming. Since the Downtown streetcar project was approved by the voters, there has been more than $2.1 billion dollars invested in the Greater Downtown Kansas City area, with more than $1.1 billion still planned.  This includes residential, commercial, retail and hotel developments.  Other Downtown growth facts include:

  • 25,078 residents
  • 16,630 residential units (this includes multi-family and single-family homes)
  • 90,595 employees
  • 2,221 hotel rooms

“The KC Streetcar has continued to make a positive impact in the City Market,” said Deb Churchill, City Market property manager. “Our tenants saw an increase in sales the first year of service and the momentum has continued. The Streetcar has proven to be instrumental in creating a connectivity with Downtown and the Crossroads that we had been lacking for years.”

The KC Streetcar has made a difference for visitors, employees, businesses and residents.

“I work in the Crossroads Arts District and live in Columbus Park. Every day I walk from home to the City Market streetcar stop and take the streetcar to the Kauffman Center stop.  Having the streetcar has allowed my family to support public transit and become a one-car family,” said AJ Harbison, downtown resident.

Since streetcar service began, there has been at least 20 new businesses open along or near the Main Street route.

“We opened a year ago in the City Market and the KC Streetcar has been instrumental for our business,” said Robin Luther, owner of Hawthorne 109. “The streetcar connects our boutique to people who live and work Downtown with the convenience of having a stop at 5th & Main.”

As response to the demand in ridership, the KC Streetcar Authority ordered two more streetcar vehicles for the Downtown route.  Those vehicles should arrive in 2019.  Additionally, the KC Streetcar Authority, along with the City of Kansas City, the KC Area Transportation Authority and Port KC, are planning for future streetcar extensions north towards Berkley Riverfront as well as south to UMKC.

More information on both of those projects can be found on the KC Streetcar website.

Vote today for reStart – national competition for $65K grant

Ninety seconds of your time will make all the difference to Kansas City’s homeless youth, veterans and families.

reStart has been selected as a finalist – one of eight organizations nationally – for the coveted Opus Foundation’s Gerry Rauenhorst Building Community Award. This year’s winner will be awarded $65,000 to commemorate Opus’ rich history and tradition that began 65 years ago. For their impactful work, the remaining finalists will receive $5,000 each.

reStart, of course, is a juggernaut in Downtown Kansas City. Its mission is to provide housing and services to homeless youth, families, men, and women to end homelessness in Downtown and the larger community.

But reStart needs our help to win the $65K grant – it currently ranks 4th in the balloting. Visit the Opus Foundation website, watch the reStart video, and then click the “vote” button under the reStart name:

http://bit.ly/2qUnTNV

You can vote once on each of your devices — phone, laptop, tablet, home computer, work computer — plus all of your family’s and friends’ devices, as well! Voting continues until 3 p.m. Friday (CDT), so don’t delay!

And, please share this message on your social media channels and with your friends, so we can reach as many people as possible. Thank you for helping us make an impact in our community!

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.