A few months ago, the Kansas City City Council voted to rename an iconic Kansas City Boulevard from The Paseo to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This immediately stirred up a controversy in the city… not about naming a street after Dr. King, because virtually everyone agrees with finally making that a reality – but because there was absolutely no community discussion about the street which was chosen.
I have to admit, I didn’t follow the discussion very closely, but my personal feelings are that I agree it was a poor choice for the city. The Paseo has played a long and important part in Kansas City’s development and history – and to completely eliminate it from our city’s identity seems wrong. Apparently, many people, including those who live along the Paseo and surrounding neighborhoods, agree. There will be city-wide vote in November on changing it back to The Paseo, and identifying another, more appropriate street to honor Dr. King. We’ll see how the vote plays out.
Anyway, a friend of mine, Bryan Colley, is creating a project called “Where the Streets have New Names” for the K.C. Fringe Festival in July, and he asked several photographers if we’d like to take one day and document MLK/Paseo Boulevard. Half of us would start at the north end the Boulevard at Cliff Drive in the Northeast section of KC and half would start at the south end on 35th Street. We’d meet in the middle at Gates BBQ on the Plaza.
So, that’s what we did. It was a wonderful morning, even though the weather was a little cloudy and chilly. Bryan is pulling together everyone’s images and will print 4×6″ images… then put them all together on 2 or 3 panels. We weren’t sure how he was going to present the images, so I might have shot a little differently knowing they were going to be printed fairly small, but I had a great time, and here are some of my images.
And if they do decide to change the name back to The Paseo, we have a ton of images from the time it was called Martin Luther King Boulevard.