39th Street changes concern residents

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The growing popularity of the 39th Street strip has some longtime neighbors complaining about being priced out of the area.

A laundromat that served the neighborhood for years is closing later this month.

New restaurants and trendy shops are attracting bigger crowds to 39th Street. And usually that growth would be good for a neighborhood.

But those who live nearby say services they've come to depend on are being forced out by higher rents to make way for more upscale boutiques.

Some neighbors say what once was an affordable area is becoming anything but affordable. Joe Sibinski just got a rent increase of $200 a month for his nearby apartment.

"I actually didn’t have a car for about three years around here and it was just fine walking and riding my bike," Sibinski said. "I don’t really want to move to a further away neighborhood."

A dumpling bar has closed and a bicycle shop also is moving out of the area, citing big increases in their lease.

Midtown housing is considered some of the most affordable in Kansas City and many who live nearby work in the Westport entertainment district or other Midtown retail areas. Some say it's important to continue to live near their work.

"It's popular," 39th Street neighbor Ryan Evans said. "It seems to be an ongoing trend with things getting bigger, more expensive. It’s running out some of the, I guess what makes the neighborhood popular. People are trying to capitalize on that and they’re running out the very reason of why it’s popular in the first place."

Others also claim that the increased popularity has brought more crime to 39th Street, another factor that's making a close-knit area feel less neighborly.