Years-long wait for business revival in Red Bridge community coming to an end

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The long wait is over.

Residents in the Red Bridge community in South Kansas City say they're waited over a decade for new businesses in their shopping center, and now, their local strip center gets a boost.

Elected officials describe it as being like a comeback. Business leaders hosted a community rally on Friday morning, making public plans for a series of new tenants in the old shopping center, which is nearly six decades old.

"What a shame it was this center had gotten into the state it was," Lane4 Properties President Owen Buckley told the crowd.

There's nothing to revive a dormant business hub like new money. There's reason to celebrate for people living near Holmes Road near Minor Park, as plans for a half-dozen new businesses are announced, including an Italian restaurant, a large hardware store and a gym specializing in spinning classes.

People living in this community have cringed, as stores in this strip center, which was originally built in 1960, went out of business. Storefronts were left vacant, some of which went without retail tenants for a decade.

"If you come from a place like this, you might be proud of it," Vonda Breedlove, a Red Bridge resident for 10 years, said.

"They can help people say, 'Hey, we're not dead. We're still alive and kickin'."

Kansas City Councilman Scott Taylor, who represents the city's sixth district, says it's taken a lot of work to reach this point. He and leaders from Lane4 have generated $13M in both private and public money to help this project come to life.

"This used to be a vibrant shopping center," Wagner said. "We knew we needed to help bring it back. We're now seeing, with all the community support, this effort is beginning to bear fruit."

Existing business owners at Red Bridge Shopping Center say they welcome the new neighbors. Dylan Stendebach works as a cook at the family-owned Daily Limit Cafe and Pub.

"It's going to bring a lot of new customers," Stendebach said. "It's for sure going to be a draw. This place will be a lot more attractive."

Buckley tells FOX 4 News recent projects in South Kansas City, engineered by corporations such as Cerner and Burns and McDonald, have helped this revitalization happen. Buckley says the first of the six new tenants will open this fall, and he expects more storefronts in the near future.