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The decision was made on May 23, 2024.
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An Update on UMKC’s Commitment to an Elevated Campus Life

And What this may Mean for Local Businesses
The+Colonial+Shops+opened+business+in+the+1920s.
Soffia Hernandez
The Colonial Shops opened business in the 1920’s.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City announced plans to create a more student-oriented campus life in the State of the University Address.

Now, UMKC is acting—beginning on 51st Street. 

Currently, the university owns two vacant plots of land, between Brookside and Oak Street, just north of Crow’s Coffee. The one exception to this land’s vacancy is an unused parking garage stationed next to the Johnson dormitories.

With the streetcar coming to campus in 2025, UMKC is planning a streetcar extension at 51st Street with potential retail shops and an arena.

However, Pride Cleaners, Kin Lin, and Crow’s Coffee are already operating at the station’s future location.  

Kin Lins’s owner Jeff Ruan said the changes leave him wanting answers, as he doesn’t know how this might affect his business.  

“We want to know what the future is going to be, but nobody can tell us,” Ruan said. “Everybody has no idea. I ask them and they don’t know”  

Plans are still in development, but that may change soon as streetcar development proposals were due on July 21.  

The proposals focus on the streetcar expansion increasing the accessibility to the south end of campus.  

UMKC Director of Strategic Operations Stacy Downs explained that conversations are happening, but declined to answer any further questions.

“UMKC has been in conversations with the businesses in the development area and will continue to talk with them,” Downs said. 

Other possible changes to the vacant lots include campus retail shops, more campus housing, or even an arena— which could elevate UMKC’s athletic programs significantly. 

The arena would be shared with UMKC, and the developer would determine the usage of the facility. The current athletics building on campus, Swinney Center, also hosts recreational activities and is much smaller than what the new arena would be. If built, the arena would greatly increase available space for sports goers, and continue to grow the sports scene in the Kansas City area.

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