KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Troost Avenue, the recognizable, well-known thoroughfare in Kansas City, could be on its way to a name change.
On Wednesday, the Kansas City Neighborhood Planning and Development Committee advanced a plan to seek community input before making a final decision. There are, however, many steps to take along the way.
The move follows a 2020 resolution that called on the city to remove monuments to those who “participated in the oppression of others.”
Troost Avenue’s name comes from Dr. Benoist Troost, an 18th Century physician, developer and slave owner.
You can see a lot on Troost Avenue just by hanging out near the Troost Mart.
“Everybody just kind of cruises through. Go to the gas station. Smoke their little cigarettes here and there, and that’s about it,” said Cayden Smith as he walked down the street.
“But if they change it, I guess it is what it is,” he said.
Smith said it will be a lot of paperwork for people who live and work on the street if the name changes eventually.
“It’s a lot worse than losing your credit card. You got to change everything,” said Armando Vasquez, co-owner of Anchor Island Coffee.
Vasquez said he’s open to a name change, but he also has questions.
“This is not just me. It’s a lot of other businesses. This building alone has five or six businesses,” Vasquez said.
“It’s still fresh. We’ll just have to wait and find out what happens,” he said.
On Wednesday, the Kansas City planning committee advanced a resolution calling for the creation of a website. That website would collect local input on a potential name change.
The highest publicized push has come from Chris Goode, owner of Ruby Jean’s Juicery. He proposes “Truth Avenue” like the mural on his building.
“For these signs to continually represent people that were OK with the sale and purchase of black bodies — they were OK with the rape and murder of black bodies. I think it ought to be time for the council to once and for all put this to bed,” Goode said.
“It doesn’t matter if it causes a headache,” Vasquez said with a laugh, expressing open-mindedness. “I think it’s just part of the change.”
Smith offered a somewhat different opinion.
“I feel like the name Troost actually matches the area if that makes sense,” he said. “I don’t know what it is about it, but it just seems like an area that needs to be called Troost.”
The proposal will go on for a vote at the full Kansas City Council. If passed, the city manager would have to report back on the input within 45 days.
After that, there could be a separate official vote on any ordinance to change the name. However, no proposal like that is currently on the table.