Garment District Grooves Concert Series Starts Fifth Season

The Garment District Grooves monthly concert series has resumed through October. (Photo courtesy KC Parks & Rec)

The Garment District Grooves Series has tuned up for another season, returning at a time its namesake park at Eighth and Broadway is receiving renewed attention.

The lunchtime music series is presented the third Wednesday of each month through October by the Kansas City Parks & Recreation Department, the Downtown Council, Downtown Neighborhood Association and Crossroads Charter School.

All concerts run from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and musical acts are joined by food trucks for the lunchtime crowd. The event began last Wednesday.

The upcoming concert schedule:

May 17th, Band: StanKesslers Food: Julita’s

June 21st, Band: Max Groove Food: Spice Bandit

July 19th, Band: The Holliday/Walsh Band Food: Sugar Skull Grill

August 16th, Band: Billy Ebeling Food: Chilakillers

September 20th, Band: Bill Abernathy Food: The Urban Knife

October 18th, Band: Max Levy Food: Ragusa Italian Cafe

The Historic Garment District Museum, 801 Broadway, also is open from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on Garment District Grooves concert days.

Last October, a special early evening Garment District Grooves party was held to call attention to the park and efforts to bolster its maintenance being led by the developers of the Carnival Building next door.

For many years, the narrow, publicly-owned Garment District Park and its fountain near received extra care from DST Real Estate, an arm of DST Systems.

The broken fountain at Garment District Park near Eighth and Broadway is a symbol of its decline.

During its downtown heyday in the 1990s and early 2000s, DST was a huge player in utilizing and preserving real estate on the west side of downtown. Tom McDonnell, its former chief executive, has an honorary street sign on the nearby stretch of Broadway.

But when DST was sold in 2018 to Connecticut-based SS&C Technologies Holdings, its downtown luster began to fade rapidly.

Now, the Garment District Park fountain is broken and its landscaping, sidewalks and fixtures showing wear. The small park is located near the The Roaster’s Block, Fountain Lofts and Mulberry Lofts as well as the Quality Hill residential district.

It’s also close to the Crossroads Academy high school at 816 Broadway.

Exact Partners, which is converting the historic Carnival building at 802 Broadway into 48 apartments, hosted the special concert along with the Downtown Council and Parks Department.

At the time, Bill Dietrich, president and CEO of the Downtown Council, said his organization was interested in helping Garment District Park.

“It’s a beautiful urban space with full grown trees, a cobblestone sidewalk, it’s really fabulous,” he said in an earlier interview.

“We’d like to see it active and programmed. If we could do a partnership with the parks department and property owners around it we’d be very open to that.”

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