Hickman Mills Area Plan gets updated
By John Sharp
Photos by Bill Rankin
The KCMO City Council voted unanimously on June 4 to amend the 2007 Hickman Mills Area Plan which had gone the longest of the city’s 18 area plans without being updated to serve as a guide for future land use decisions and public infrastructure investments.
The plan covers the area from 87th St. and the Raytown city limits on the north to 119th St. and the Grandview city limits on the south and from Raytown Rd. on the east to U.S. 71/I-49 on the west.
The updates were drafted by staff of the City Planning & Development Department following numerous public meetings stretching back through much of last year and recommended for approval by a steering committee of area stakeholders that I was part of.
The goals of the plan are to:
- Capitalize on Hickman Mills’ convenient regional access and improve the local transportation network to serve all users.
- Maintain established neighborhoods and reinvest in distressed neighborhoods while developing new housing options to meet emerging needs.
- Capitalize on regional employment centers to spur quality development and redevelopment.
- Support and rehabilitate existing commercial areas to attract and retain quality businesses.
- Utilize the nationally recognized historic trails to increase recreational opportunities and attract visitors.
- Improve programming and access to existing parks and green space.
- Establish a brand or identity for the area.
The plan recommends prioritizing public investments in two specific areas thought to have the most potential for having the greatest positive impact on the overall area:
The Robandee Area – This area around the intersection of Bannister Rd. & James A. Reed Rd. runs from 93rd Ter. to 99th St. and from Eastern to Spring Valley Rd. and includes the largely vacant Robandee Shopping Center which the plan says presents a great opportunity for reinvestment.
The Ruskin Area – This area runs from 107th St. to Longview Rd. and from Bennington to Spring Valley Rd. and includes the underutilized Ruskin Shopping Center that the plan notes is in need of renovation.
The plan also recognizes these key opportunity areas for development and redevelopment:
Cerner Adjacent Properties – The undeveloped wooded area north of 93rd St. east of the Kansas City Southern railroad tracks that are just east of the Cerner Innovations Campus and the largely undeveloped area between 93rd St. and Bannister Rd. west of the railroad tracks.
Marion Park Corridor – The largely undeveloped area south of Bannister Rd. between U.S. 71 and Home Depot and the South Patrol Police Campus.
Bannister Rd. & Blue Ridge Blvd. – This includes the commercial developments on all four corners stretching north on Blue Ridge including the new Three Trails Transit Center.
Loma Vista Shopping Center – This shopping center and commercial area is on the southwest quadrant of 87th St. & Blue Ridge Blvd.
Longview Shopping Center – This shopping center and adjacent commercial areas is on the southeast quadrant of Longview Rd. & Blue Ridge Blvd.
Historic Hickman Mills District – This mixed use area is on both sides of Red Bridge Rd. east of its intersection with Hillcrest Rd.
The plan calls for improving Blue Ridge Blvd. as the most prominent north-south street serving the Hickman Mills area by installing landscaping, streetscape amenities, sidewalks on both sides of the street throughout the area and gateway markers. It also calls for constructing a new multimodal access route from 87th St. to Bannister Rd. to take the place of Hillcrest Rd. since a portion of it has been converted to a private street to serve the Cerner Innovations Campus.
The plan notes that most neighborhood streets in the area were constructed without sidewalks, curbs and gutters before the area was annexed by Kansas City and that there is an urgent need for sidewalks (particularly those providing safe routes to schools) and safe pedestrian crossings of major streets.
The plan also calls for filling in the gaps in the area’s trail system, for providing more bus service on weekends and evenings and installing amenities at bus stops such as shelters, benches, trash cans and route information.
Finally, the plan stresses the need for an implementation committee made up of area stakeholders who will serve as champions for implementing the plan’s recommendations.