KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Construction on the Downtown Streetcar system is already underway, but so are meetings in one Kansas City neighborhood to make sure the construction doesn't mess with its treasured trail. In fact the mayor’s office moved to ease those concerns on Wednesday night.
While KC Mayor Sly James may have tried to placate those concerns, he still faced a loud and skeptical crowd at a community meeting. Kansas City's Trolley Trail is a popular bike and walking path that stretches more than four miles from the Brookside neighborhood to 85th street.
There is concern among residents that a proposed expansion of the city's street car system may mean the end of the line for that trail. The city has already suggested three future extensions of the yet-to-be-built Downtown Streetcar system.
One of them would go south near Main Street and possibly as far as 85th street. The concern is that the right of way currently used for the walking and bike path would be given over to the street car line. Residents don’t want that extension destroying what they see as a valuable neighborhood resource. Mayor James said that's just one of the options.
“There's multiple options, three or four of which have nothing to do with the Trolley Trail. Won't touch it, won’t run on it, won't use the lines on it,” Mayor James said.
Mayor James announced earlier on Wednesday that he's forming a neighborhood advisory committee to provide community input on the potential southward streetcar line. He said that the Trolley Trail and its benefits to the community would be preserved. Tensions ran high, but there's nothing set in stone. There is a public hearing on April 1st the group is urging people to attend.