All posts by Olivia Woods

Harrison Boulevard to Forest Avenue, Census Tracts 52 and 178

The two census tracts along Armour Boulevard that contain portions of Forest Avenue and Harrison Boulevard have seen better days. During the 1950s, it was a densely populated area, outfitted with many grocery and drug stores to serve the nearly 20,000 residents within just these two tracts. 82% of those residents lived in the many apartment buildings in the area, as many as 6 within a four block radius. 99% of these tracts’ residents were Caucasian. By 2000, the landscape had dramatically changed, nearly all of the previous apartments being demolished, and the population shifting to an almost even distribution of white and black. This period of 50 years saw the population decrease by almost 5,000 people. As disinvestment crept in, so did crime of all kinds which made the area even more undesirable. By 2010, the area’s population density had sunk to just 5, 219 people per square mile on average (it was an average of 26,862 in 1950). The population had become so small in fact that the two tracts that had contained Harrison and several other streets to its West for 50 years were consolidated into just one tract in 2010. Though this area was and is still blighted, promising signs of revitalization are appearing. A community center at the intersection of Armour and Forest that sat abandoned for more than 40 years has been purchased and is currently under construction, and an Operation Breakthrough Center has opened at 31st and Armour.

Forest to Harrison

This stretch of Armour Boulevard between Forest Avenue and Harrison Boulevard appears mostly empty, but still feels lively. Everywhere you turn, there is a building or a lot that once contained a building, that was a source of hustle and bustle from the 1920s through  to the 1950s. During those years, the busy Troost Line streetcar was ridden every day, and many large brick and stone buildings stood as apartments or drugstores. Nearly all of them have been demolished and leave only their grassy footprint behind as a reminder. Mac Properties, The Planned Industrial Expansion Authority of Kansas City, or Armour and Troost LLC own most of the property in this two block stretch. Along the four corners facing inward toward Troost Avenue, plans have been made to erect large mixed use buildings in the future, which will contain about 300 apartment housing units and 25,000 square feet of retail space. Although this area looks empty, it is only sleeping for now! Stay tuned!