As I write this blog, I sit gazing out our foundation office window on 18th and Prospect looking toward the beautiful KC downtown skyline. While the distance between my office and downtown is only a few blocks, it might as well be light years away.
Outside my office window I see lots of folks waiting at the bus stop to catch a bus to their minimum wage job. I see people pushing a grocery cart full of aluminum cans taking them to a nearby recycling location to cash the cans in for money. I hear police sirens on a regular basis speeding down Prospect. I see men and women hopelessly walking up and down the street. I see a young mom and her young baby sitting under a tree asking people for money so she can catch a ride on the bus. Inside our building are felons recently released from prisons that are applying for a job so they can become a productive member of society.
Downtown, only a few blocks away, you will find professional and business leaders hustling to and from their jobs. Of course, you will also find the homeless and the poor who are waiting to catch a bus or who are hustling to get to their second job cleaning a downtown office building. Because of the recent development of the Power & Light District, at night when there is a concert or sporting event downtown is alive and full of people from throughout the region enjoying the wonderful amenities that KC has to offer.
For years west of Troost or Prospect streets have been the dividing line between the haves and the have not’s in KC. I wonder if the new KCMO Mayor and City Council and the various civic leaders and chamber officials who are putting an emphasis on business development will be successful in recruiting businesses and jobs to the east side of Troost. I’d sure like to look my office window and see folks walking by in business suits to their new office located on Prospect Street…that would be a beautiful site.