KCMO council committee takes early steps toward renaming Troost Avenue

Published: May. 24, 2023 at 8:03 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - KCMO’s Neighborhood Planning and Development Committee took an early step toward renaming a street that has long symbolized racial divides in the area.

Chris Goode, the owner of Ruby Jean’s Juicery, started a petition in 2022 to rename Troost Avenue. The street was named for Dr. Benoist Troost, a slaveowner who was a prominent physician and business figure in the city’s early days.

Troost Avenue was also a dividing marker for racial segregation in Kansas City, which has left a lasting impact on some neighborhoods.

Jeremy Drouin manages Missouri Valley Special Collections at the Kansas City Public Library. Drouin said banks and insurers in the 1930s drew maps that discouraged investments in communities east of the street, which is a process known as “redlining.”

“Over the decades, that led to disinvestment, property values falling, blight,” Drouin said.

Goode’s petition outlines that history and suggests the name Truth Avenue as an alternative name for the street.

“I believe that it is time for us to truly embrace our heinous past and tell the truth about its history across all corners, beginning here and now,” it reads.

On Wednesday afternoon, Goode testified before the council committee along with Councilwoman Melissa Robinson. Robinson introduced a resolution that would instruct the city to gather public input for the street’s potential renaming.

“We, as a city, are complicit at this point because we’ve allowed this honoring to maintain itself over decades,” Goode said.

After the vote, Goode said he hoped to engage other business and property owners along Troost to ensure that the public has proper input regarding any changes to the street.

“In Kansas City, we’re so proud to live here,” he said. “We should also be proud to do the work and push aside the longstanding narratives of segregation.”