Archive for Communities

West area sees much commercial building activity

Ground was broken March 22 for the $60 million Village South project in Edwardsville. (Photo by Murrel Bland)

Developing western Wyandotte County…

by Murrel Bland

There is considerable development activity in western Wyandotte County these days. Here is a quick summary:

Turner community. The largest building in the Turner community is the new warehouse that Amazon will start to use this fall. The change in retail habits has fostered this warehouse which will have more than 800,000 square feet of floor space.

Amazon boasts an extensive selection of items that can be delivered in two days or less. There is a national trend for shoppers to find retail items on the Amazon Internet website and then order.

Key to the success of this area has and will be Northpoint Development. That company is acquiring nearby real estate parcels along the Turner Diagonal through a corporation entitled Turner Land LLC. Northpoint sold the Amazon site to the present owners, a limited liability corporation with ties to USAA Insurance, San Antonio, Texas. The Amazon site is on a parcel of about 125 acres. Plans call for developing an area along the Diagonal from State Avenue to K-32. This would be about 800 acres.

Business West has written two letters to the Secretary of the Department of Transportation, encouraging the necessary funding along the Diagonal that would enhance the added truck traffic.

Village West. There continues to be more and more activity on property owned by Schlitterbahn. Ground-breaking is planned at 11 a.m. Wednesday, March 29, for the Frontier Justice. Owners Michael and Bren Brown have a similar location in Lee’s Summit.

Bren Brown recently explained that Frontier Justice caters to the “mid-market” — that between individually owned gun stores and Cabela’s. Frontier Justice sells firearms and archery products and also provides an indoor shooting range. Fireams training is also provided. The company also features a clothing boutique.

“Frontier Justice will promote personal freedoms in an inviting atmosphere that promotes responsibility and family,” according to the company’s Website.

A letter of intent has been signed by Grinders restaurant that proposes to develop its fourth location in buildings that once housed the Kansas Department of Transportation offices near 98th Street and State Avenue. Other Grinders locations are in the Crossroads District, Kansas City, Mo., Lenexa and Leavenworth. The restaurant chain owner is Jeffrey (Stretch) Rumaner.

Construction is moving ahead on a carwash that Schlitterbahn will operate. A fast-food restaurant will operate inside the carwash. Steve Sessions of Basehor will be the manager of the restaurant.

The Dairy Farmers of American headquarters office building is scheduled to open this spring.

A Star Fuel convenience store will be built on the southwest corner of 98th Street and Parallel Parkway. A Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers will be built on the southeast corner of 98th Street and Parallel Parkway. The Freddy’s restaurant chain has more than 130 sites in 17 states including locations in Kansas, City, Mo., Lansing, Lawrence, Lenexa, Overland Park and Olathe. Bill and Randy Redler founded the Freddy’s chain. It was named after their father, Freddy Simon, who was a World War II veteran from close to Colwich, Kan., a small town near Wichita.

The Unified Government is looking for developers who would submit proposals for a convention center in the Village West Area. It would need from 30,000 to 50,000 square feet of exhibit floor space and a hotel with at least 225 rooms. Mayor Mark Holland said that the Unified Government is looking for a convention center that would attract visitors all year long.

Hollywood Casino had planned to build a convention center and hotel next to its location at the Kansas Speedway. However, Hollywood officials have declined to build it although that was part of its initial development agreement. Instead, Hollywood has opted to pay an annual penalty of about $1.4 million. Hollywood officials have said they are concerned about a bill in the Kansas Legislature that might reopen The Woodlands. Hollywood officials pointed out it paid a $25 million “privilege fee” along with a $250 million investment in the casino itself.

The National Training and Coaching Development Center has plans to open later this year. The $80 million project will house the offices of Sporting Kansas City, presently in the Crossroads District of Kansas City, Mo. It is east of 98th Street and south of Parallel Parkway.

Edwardsville. The city of Edwardsville is moving ahead with plans for its redevelopment district, east of 110th Street and south of I-70. Plans call for a mixed-use retail area which may include restaurants, a convenience store, hotels and a conference center. A tax increment financing district has been established for the area. Ground was broken Wednesday, March 22, for the $60 million Village South project. Those attending included investors, developers and public officials.

Bonner Springs. Public notices have been published in The Wyandotte Echo that call for the development of an area south of State Avenue and west of 118th Street. It also calls for tax increment financing. The area would include 69 triplexes, 112 duplexes and a 150-unit apartment complex. There would also be nearby retail including restaurants and a hotel.

Murrel Bland, the executive director of Business West, is the former editor of the Wyandotte West.

Ancel to speak at KCKCC for Women’s History Month

by Kelly Rogge, KCKCC

Judy Ancel is the featured speaker at Kansas City Kansas Community College’s Women’s History Month program.

“Dangerous and Unladylike: The Women Who Made History” is from noon to 1 p.m. March 23 in Room 2325 on the KCKCC Main Campus, 7250 State Ave. The hosts for the event, which is free and open to the public, are Women and Gender Advocacy Services of the KCKCC Counseling and Advocacy Center, the KCKCC Intercultural Center, the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Division and the American Association of University Women.

During the program, attendees will learn about seven women who made history, yet are likely not found in any history books.

Ancel is the director of worker education and labor studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City where she works to provide training and educational opportunities for union members as well as the public. In addition, she has taught history and politics at the post-secondary level and has been a union activist and organizer in both the American Federation of Teachers and the United Steelworkers. Currently, she coordinates The Heartland Labor Forum, a weekly radio show on KKFI-90.1 FM in Kansas City. It is the only program in the metropolitan area dedicated to the work place and serves to educate the community about labor struggles, organizing and the economy.

Ancel is also the founder and organizing co-chair of Kansas City Jobs with Justice, is president of the board of directors of the Cross Border Network for Justice and Solidarity and is active in the United Association of Labor Education.

For more information about the program, contact Jennifer Gieschen, coordinator of Women and Gender Advocacy, at 913-288-7193.

Tickets available for KCKCC’s Jazz Cabaret

by Kelly Rogge, KCKCC

Some tickets may still be available for Kansas City Kansas Community College’s annual Jazz Cabaret.

The Jazz Cabaret is at 6 p.m. March 23 in Upper Jewell on the KCKCC main campus, 7250 State Ave. Tickets are $25 and $15 for those who wear a military uniform or 1940s attire. Tickets are $10 after 7:30 p.m. for dancing only. Children 10-years and under are free. The theme for this year’s Jazz Cabaret is the 1940s.

Music during the Jazz Cabaret will be provided by the KCKCC Vocal Jazz ensembles “The Standard” and “Solstice” as well as the KCKCC Blue Devil Jazz Ensemble and the KICKS Jazz Band. Wyandotte BBQ will cater the dinner. The event is a fundraiser for Music Department student travel.

“What makes this event so enjoyable is there are so many parts to it,” said John Stafford, director of choral activities at KCKCC. “This year, we will not only have our student performances, but we’ll also have the KICKS Swing Band from Bonner Springs join us. There will be a dancing portion of the event for patrons, a discount for those wearing 1940s themed outfits.”

The money from tickets sales will be used to fund the music department for performance events for the next academic year, Stafford said.

For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Stafford at 913-288-7137 or by email at