Major changes at former Truman Corners Shopping Center taking shape

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GRANDVIEW, Mo. -- South Kansas City residents soon won't have to make the hike to the Country Club Plaza or down to Johnson County for shopping. Construction continues at the old Truman Corners Shopping Center with another ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday.

Construction continues at the retail space off Blue Ridge Boulevard and I-49. Grandview Chamber President Kim Curtis said, "My office is just across the parking lot so I get to look over and see something new that's happening."

What was once the oldest open-air shopping center in the Kansas City Area is undergoing major change. Now called Truman Marketplace, the shopping center built in 1958, is getting more than a dozen new stores and restaurants. Curtis said, "We've been doing ribbon cutting consistently as new businesses open."

Construction started last Spring, the first store (Burlington Coat Factory) opened in October, and the work is going strong. Four ribbon cuttings have already happened this month, there are three scheduled for next week, and one took place Friday.

Frank Buchhorn's popcorn shop, Topsy's Popcorn, has been a staple in the shopping center for almost half a century. Buchhorn said, "We always knew we'd stay. We were in a building that was 60 years old and so moving to a new building wasn't a big choice. It was a pretty easy deal."

The move from a few doors down meant new fixtures, a new layout, and hopefully, new customers. Bucchorn continued, "We hope business increases."

The city hopes business comes from people who are used to driving into Kansas City to shop. Curtis said, "It keeps people and it keeps our sales tax dollars here so that we can continue to support our city services, police and fire." She said other funding for the $75.6 million project includes state programs for renovation projects, tax increment financing, and community improvement district funding. The developer will host the final grand re-opening in September. Curtis said, "It's an exciting time to be in Grandview."

A few miles from Truman Marketplace, a new amphitheater has gone up. It's set to open a week from Friday, with its first ticketed concert scheduled for Saturday. The city says voters overwhelmingly passed a park levy in 2014 that allowed for the construction. Slopes in the center of the venue will let people sit out with blankets and lawn chairs, to enjoy what the city calls a dynamite sound system and state of the art lighting.

Grandview Park Services Manager Don Fowler said, "The voters have been really good about supporting our bond issues, and we've done great things with it. We couldn't have done it if we couldn't afford it, so that's a big part of it."

Construction at Truman Marketplace will wrap up this fall.