KANSAS CITY, Mo. - It was standing room only at Thursday night's public meeting on the future of Midtown.
Nearly 200 people turned up at St. Paul's Episcopal Church to share their ideas with a team of city-hired consultants.
"I am pleasantly surprised by the turnout," Midtown resident Lynday McClelland said. "A lot of people care about this area."
The consultants from Gould Evans Associates began the meeting with a short presentation about a recently conducted survey on the district's demographics. According to the presentation, the population of Midtown dropped from more than 100,000 to about 40,000 between 1950 and 2010.
The crowd was separated into seven sections to discuss the pros and cons of Midtown.
The hands rapidly flew up as people commended the area's parks, diversity and history.
When the discussion turned to the concerns, Zach Flanders said he'd like to see more access for cyclists.
"I've actually been hit by a car before," Flanders said. "I'd like to see some bike lanes or some separation between myself and traffic."
Father Paisius Altschul of St. Mary of Egypt Orthodox Church said Troost Ave. continues to be a dividing line, which is keeping the community from reaching its full potential.
"We need to be very deliberate of really reaching out to both sides of Troost and beginning to deal with these issues of black and white and the divisions of economy, and begin to really pull together," Altschul said.
The consultants marked each comment on poster boards, which were then hung up -- by the end of the meeting, they covered large sections of the walls.
The crowd was brought back together to discuss common suggestions, and the consultants said additional meetings will be planned for the near future.
Those who missed the meeting are invited to share their input online at http://midtownplaza.mindmixer.com .
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