Hope is an illusive thing. So is change. Three years ago south K.C. was full of hope and looking for change. City council candidates made promises; then they were elected and the promises and hope turned into empty dreams. The orange revolution was nothing more than an election gimmick.
Friends of Red Bridge had hopes of building an environmentally and neighborhood friendly bridge. John Sharp even testified at council committee hearings that a big bridge wasn’t necessary. Then he got himself elected and played god with the outcome.
Around about that time, the Wizards were looking for their own stadium and hired Lane 4 to get it for them. That’s all they wanted – their own stadium. The old Bannister Mall site seemed like a good place. Sadly for them, EDC said they would need to do retail and office, also. When Kansas came a-courtin’ who could blame Lane 4? Here was their chance to do only what they wanted, get the Wizards their own stadium.
Once again, south K.C. has had their hopes shattered. John Sharp was going to be their savior and bring much wanted retail back to the area. Now he’s just another politician looking for the elusive colossus of a development. He has not, as he said he would, see that all of Hickman Mills is included in the Hickman Mills Area Plan. That leaves the entire area west of 71 Highway, soon to be I-49, without a plan. How convenient for the powers that be.
Now, if local political insiders are to be believed, Bannister Mall will become a warehouse/distribution center. That will encourage the city to widen the already too big bridge they are planning for Red Bridge Road which in turn will lead to the further widening of the rest of the road. MoDOT has already said south K.C. should have expected this when they pushed to have the interchange at Red Bridge rather than Longview Road.
While the west side of Hickman Mills has no official plan, officials have their own plan for the area. I have no doubt that John Sharp will do his best Harold Hill impression and convince the community that this type of development with its increase in truck traffic is just what they need.