New Year’s Eve Reflection: First Six Months of CityScene KC

A view of the downtown skyline from the Crossroads Arts District

By Kevin Collison

It’s been six months since I launched CityScene KC and I hope you’ve enjoyed it so far.

The plan has been to produce a regular, reliable news source for downtown residents, employees and everyone interested in our city’s heart, a small-town newspaper for a unique, growing urban community.

My greatest satisfaction so far occurred a couple weeks ago at the Urban Homes Tour when a young couple checking out downtown apartments told me, unsolicited, they were regular readers.

That’s the audience I want CityScene KC to serve.

It’s been fun, covering the big stuff like redeveloping Kemper Arena, the new convention hotel and all the apartment projects coming online. I’ve also enjoyed meeting small business owners like the folks at Spokes, Nature’s Own and Strange Days.

The biggest thing that’s changed downtown since I left The Star in 2014 has been the arrival of the streetcar. It’s been a huge psychological boost, development magnet and great way to shuttle from one end of downtown to another.

A River Market alley.

The streetcar has brought tens of thousands of people downtown that haven’t been here in a long time. It’s a rolling showcase to all that’s been accomplished in recent years, and a symbol  of more energy and investment to come.

I love how the East Crossroads has evolved into a fun place for young urbanites to hang out. The artist Stretch got the ball rolling a decade or so ago with Grinders, and now its microbreweries, coffee shops, record stores and street art have reached critical mass.

For my money, it’s a far more appealing and chill environment to go out with your friends than Westport these days. Let’s hope it stays that way.

Each downtown neighborhood has its appeal, from the Greenwich Village feel of the River Market, the leafy quiet of Quality Hill, the high-rises of downtown proper, the industrial-feel Crossroads, gritty West Bottoms and the new apartments near Crown Center and Union Hill.

I’d like to thank all of you who are readers and encourage you to repost, forward, like, link, subscribe via email or however else you pass CityScene along to others.

I also want to thank the folks who’ve invested and backed this enterprise, particularly my partner Dave Scott. Your trust means a lot.

Special thanks to KCUR public radio, for allowing me to collaborate as a journalist, and to the Downtown Council, for its fundamental support.

For the new year, we want to attract sponsors and advertisers to help make this publication a viable, trustworthy source of downtown news for years to come. As CityScene KC grows, we also want to bring on more writers to cover more topics of interest to you.

Looking forward to 2018,  hopes are for a quick start to the convention hotel, many more retailers opening, the UMKC Conservatory plan advancing, the East Village taking off, a commitment to extending the streetcar to the river and UMKC, and a major employer or two coming downtown.

My hope is CityScene KC continues to weave itself deeper into the fabric of downtown life. Thanks and Happy New Year!

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  1. As a hotel sales manager, this is one of my go-to sites to find out what is happening in the Kansas City area. I appreciated the emphasis on new development and the tourism industry. Thank you for this great service that you provide!

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