West Bottoms looks to move on without Kemper - KCTV5

West Bottoms looks to move on without Kemper

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Few events are coming to Kemper Arena, and the haunted houses only operate part of the year. But West Bottoms businesses and city leaders hope to change perceptions of the district.

"There's a lot of resources down here in the way of old buildings," said Bill Teel, owner of the Golden Ox, one of Kansas City's most iconic restaurants.

The restaurant has been in the West Bottoms for 62 years and plans to stick around for many more decades despite the loss of concerts and sporting events at Kemper, Teel said.

Consultants are working with city officials about spurring economic development in the West Bottoms. The consultants recommend focusing on industrial, historical and the stockyards in an effort to attract businesses.

"It's another fresh look at utilizing the potential down here," Teel said. "I certainly don't have all the answers and I don't know that any one person does, so it's great that a whole group is looking at it."

Councilwoman Jan Marcason said the West Bottoms' proximity to the KCMO and Kansas City, KS, downtown and interstate access make it appealing to businesses. But she said the city must do its part.

"The signage is not very good. The streets are a little confusing. The railroad tracks are confusing," she said. "Once you get down there, it is a very exciting, vibrant community."

The consultants say the city must battle perceptions that the area is unsafe and that few businesses are left. The consultants recommend better landscaping and fencing along with more policing by both the Kansas City and KCK police departments.

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