Demolition of the previously flooded building that formerly housed Coach’s Bar & Grill on 103rd St. west of Wornall Rd. started on September 30. Photo by Bill Rankin
Retail spaces at 103rd and Wornall demolished
By John Sharp
Long awaited demolition of the three vacant commercial buildings on the north side of 103rd St. just west of Wornall Rd., one of which once housed the popular Coach’s Bar & Grill, began the morning of September 30, and city officials expect it to be complete by early December.
These buildings on the south side of Indian Creek suffered devastating damage from two record-setting floods in the summer of 2017 that were about four weeks apart.
The property owner decided not to try to repair the structures along the flood prone creek, and the city bought the property in October 2018 with the intention of removing the buildings and parking lot and converting the area to public green space that can absorb both rainwater and runoff from the car dealership across the street to the south.
Diana Johnson, project manager for the Kansas City Water Services Department, said the city will maintain the green space, but there are no final designs on what it might include. She noted that several ideas for use of the space were submitted by students at the nearby Center Middle School, and they will be considered before a final decision is made.
Tom Kimes, stormwater utility engineering manager for the Department, said it will be about the end of 2020 before final plans are approved.
That will coincide with the timeframe for completing a joint U.S. Army Corps of Engineers/city study of Indian Creek flooding from State Line Rd. to about 1,200 feet downstream of Wornall Rd. designed to more accurately predict future flooding so officials can take effective steps to prevent or at least minimize it.
Jose Lopez, a watershed planner and project manager of the study for the Department, said work on the study will begin this month and will include using a physical model and a computer model to predict flooding. He said flood water from the 2017 floods took different paths from what had been predicted, including running east on top of 103rd St. and then north on top of Wornall Rd.
Outgoing KCMO City Manager Troy Schulte said as demolition started that it may take a decade to successfully control Indian Creek flooding which has worsened significantly in recent years due to upstream development that has increased storm runoff and more severe storms.
Since the city acquired the property it has fought a losing battle to keep the buildings boarded up to prevent entry, with the plywood sheets and more substantial barriers including two by fours frequently pried off to allow entry. A fire in April, thought to possibly have been caused by homeless persons camping in one of the buildings, burned through the roof before it was extinguished.
The often open doorways and visible broken windows of the partially boarded up buildings have been a blighting influence on the area and the source of numerous complaints to city hall. The city awarded a $174,500 contract to Denton Excavating to demolish the buildings and remove the parking lot, with funding coming from general obligation bonds approved by city voters in 2017 to control flooding and pay for other major infrastructure projects.