KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After decades of talks and quite a few tense city meetings, street signs were unveiled along the new Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard Saturday morning.
Dozens cheered as the first sign went up along The Paseo and what used to be Volker Boulevard.
The moment comes after a couple years of division in the community about originally renaming The Paseo back in 2019.
Voters recinded that decision and the signs came down about 10 months later.
Sine then, city leaders along with the Parks and Rec Commission and other advocates, have been trying to find a stretch of Kansas City asphalt to name after the fames civil rights leader.
Saturday’s unveiling not only represents a new name, but also a new commitment by city and private entities to revitalize and beautify the area along the new boulevard.
“We are truly investing in the future of our community. We are truly investing in this beautiful five mile thoroughfare,” Kansas City Mayor Quentin Lucas said. “We will have one of the greatest boulevards in our park system when we are done not just putting up signs, but putting more money and more attention and more love in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard”.
Throughout the weekend, crews will install a total of 37 new street signs and five lighted signs on traffic signals along a stretch of Brush Creek that is now Blue Parkway, Swope Parkway and Volker Boulevard.
“This is saying, ‘It’s possible. It’s possible for change on the east side of Kansas City’ tangibly, not fluffy words. Not just saying, ‘We hope to do this,’ or ‘We want to do this,’ but real investment.”
The new five mile boulevard will intersect with Troost Avenue, The Paseo and Prospect Avenue.
KC Parks will invest $1 million to improve landscaping in the area.