KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Rebirth is in motion for the 18th and Vine District as the city announces several new projects to help revitalize the area that’s long struggled to get new investment.
The Kansas City, Missouri, City Council's Neighborhood Planning and Development Committee passed a project this week that will redevelop the historic Boone Theater in the 18th and Vine District.
The plans for the theater built in the 1920s include an outdoor event space and co-working space on vacant land to the east of the lot.
"Just bringing back the vibrancy of that building is just so powerful and very exciting," said KCMO Councilwoman Melissa Robinson. "That being a sacred place in Kansas City, a crown jewel of Kansas City, it is certainly something that we should be proud about."
It's a much-needed change as those who have lived or work in the area tell KSHB 41 News there hasn't been much change in a while.
"There hasn’t been much redevelopment in the area," said Wilbert Neal, who runs the Zodiac Motorcycle Club which has been around since 1973. "When we moved here, it was blighted, and then I thought something would come along but hasn't yet."
Now, something new has come along with the Boone Theater project along with several other proposed projects such as the One Nine Vine at 19th and Vine Street consisting of six stories of affordable housing units for families.
"I think it’s a good thing for the district," said Armon Lasker, owner/operator for The Director's Cut Barbershop.
Lasker hopes this is a turning point for the district.
"More foot traffic means more business, more revenue for the businesses that are already here currently," Lasker said.
One main challenge for so many years is figuring out how to get rid of the blight that the city mostly owns, continuing to plague the area.
"We need to focus on the areas that are hurting the most and need the most infusion of attention and resources," Robinson said.
To Lasker, even with the blight, the area is full of potential.
"With the blighted property being down here, it’s like an eyesore," Lasker said. "You know, when people come down here, they think this is what the district, you know, consists of, and it’s not."
For Neal, the Boone Theater project is the first step to turning the district around.
"Hopefully they come on in and maintain and help develop it even more," Neal said.
To learn more about the projects in the district, click here.