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Waldo businesses brace for summer of construction

'It’s just the waiting process, waiting for it to be done, that’s always the hardest part'
Hiles Two Waldo shop
Posted at 5:23 PM, Mar 12, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The well-traveled roads of Waldo are in the process of undergoing serious improvements.

Kansas City is sinking millions into renovating the infrastructure and walkability of the area. There are also plans for a mixed-use structure that will include apartments, a parking garage and retail/restaurant space.

Surrounding businesses knew about the infrastructure changes from both the city and private contractors, but it hasn't made a lack of space any easier.

“Foot traffic with the earthmovers and the massive equipment is not as much,” said Jovito’s owner Alex Fiorella. “That’s one of the things that’s shifted.”

Fiorella said their restaurant has loyal customers, but the ambiance isn’t exactly the same. In the meantime, they are trying to use the outdoor patio on the backside of the building to accommodate customers.

Lattice Lounge

“We try to be informative, but I’ll be honest, my staff is a little fatigued just giving explanations. We might start wearing hard hats," Fiorella said.

Heavy machinery hasn’t quite made its way across the street to shops like Hiles Two, where owner Julia Hiles admitted she knows what’s coming.

“It’s going to be insane,” Hiles said. “I hate to say it’s going to be horrible.”

She’s dreading the day the shop's parking lot is in pieces, surrounded by shredded sidewalks.

“At least during COVID, I could come in and do my online orders and accept merchandise,” Hiles said. “When they are doing this, we are down and out. I guess it will be a good time to take a vacay.”

Waldo construction phases

The city’s plan is to work in phases, with the parking lot next to Hiles Two slotted to be tackled next.

Wornall intersection improvements

Kansas City plans to make the following improvements to the area:

  • Newly reconstructed roadway.
  • Trolley Track Trail extension from 74th to 75th Street.
  • Improved traffic flow.
  • Pedestrian accommodations.
  • Parking lot modifications at 75th and Wornall Road.
  • New, interconnected signals.
  • Coordination with the KCMO Smart Sewer Program — Green Infrastructure.
  • New sidewalk along 79th Street.
  • New LED streetlights.
  • Water main replacement on Wornall Road from 75th to 77th Street.

Soap Refill Station in the same strip of shops. Manager Shelby Nelson said the summer will be a struggle.
“We are just going to keep trucking, and hopefully it won’t be too bad, and hopefully they will do it quickly so it won’t be closed for very long,” Nelson said.

When the cones are replaced by cars, she said there will be greater potential.

“I think, ultimately, it will help our business when it’s all said and done,” Nelson said. “It’s just the waiting process, waiting for it to be done, that’s always the hardest part.”

KSHB 41's Abby Dodge heard from some store owners Tuesday afternoon who are concerned about the construction of the nearby apartment complex and mixed-use structure. They plan to stay vigilant in advocating for smaller businesses in Waldo.