KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Revitalizing Quindaro is a vision turning into reality for one husband-and-wife duo, and they're getting the whole community involved.
"We have a vision that's so enormous and so exciting," said John McPherson, owner of JLM Construction and JLM Properties.
Quindaro Boulevard — forgotten, overgrown, and vacant — has the potential to be the center of the community again, McPherson said.
"It's really great. People [are] really happy to see some of these buildings that haven't opened in 20, 30 years. They haven't even seen the windows without a board on them," McPherson said.
John and Sheleah McPherson are turning all of that around. Their company, JLM Construction, is at 18th Street and Quindaro Boulevard, where they've bought up some of the surrounding properties that now house a real estate company, a tax firm, and a freight brokerage.
A Mexican restaurant at 1916 Quindaro is already in the works, and plans are in place for a cafe and a community center next to that.
"He's always wanted to something different with this area. And for me being in education, I was like, what could we do that could still tie into that?" Sheleah McPherson said.
Sheleah was an educator for 18 years but now Quindaro is also her passion project.
She found her answer in a laundromat, which will open in January. The building used to be a beauty supply store at 1920 Quindaro.
She envisions it as more than just a place to wash your clothes.
"I'm doing free detergent for three months because I want people to come in, I want you to be comfortable," Sheleah said. "We will have free WiFi as well. Over here we're going to build a bookshelf for books. I'm going to do a huge fundraiser to see if people would like to donate books."
They're also partnering with Taiasha Nichols, who runs the real estate business, to do a 'Christmas on the Q' event at the laundromat on Dec. 19. They'll give presents and meals to 30 sponsored families at the event.
Nichols has been in real estate for almost 20 years. She sells many properties in the Quindaro area and sees that it's a family-oriented community.
"It's just awesome to see the things take place, the work in progress, to see the people coming back to the area - it just makes you feel good inside," Nichols said.
The McPhersons said they just want to get rid of the bad stigma that has surrounded Quindaro for more than 20 years.
"I feel like if we continue to move forward, sky's the limit for us," Sheleah said. "Especially down here on Quindaro ... I feel like the community — they're excited. They're excited."