As someone who has spent the majority of his life living in Kansas City, KS (KCK) I personally love seeing the increasing collaboration between the two KC's. The leadership by KCK Mayor Joe Reardon and Kansas City, Missouri (KCMO) Mayor Sly James is truly inspiring for our communities. However I grow extremely frustrated and tired of seeing articles highlighting all the amazing things happening in the Kansas City metro and completely ignoring that anything good or meaningful could come from the Kansas side of the state line. Sadly, KCMO and it's media have long looked down their noses at its neighbor's to the west and despite all the collaboration between the two cities it seems that little has changed when it comes to shining the spotlight on the metro.
I was born and grew up in the heart of KCK, I moved away for college and then immediately after graduation I moved back home. KCK has an awesome history of being a blue collar and immigrant community and you'd be hard pressed to find anyone from there who isn't proud of being from "the Dotte". Recently I read "Kansas City Is Building America's Most Entrepreneurial City" by Jason Grill here on The Huffington Post. While Jason did a great job talking about the success of the entrepreneurial scene in the KC metro, he only makes one vague reference to KCK in his post.
In the month of November, Kansas City saw the creation of KC Startup Village (KCSV), an entrepreneur-led, organic, grassroots initiative that is helping bolster the Kansas City startup scene by creating a concentrated community of startups. KCSV is located around state line road hovering on both sides of the Missouri and Kansas border. Why you ask? One reason is because this is the first neighborhood in the Kansas City area to receive 100 times faster than broadband Google Fiber services.
Here's the thing, KCSV may be on the state line but it is in Kansas. Why you ask? Because KCK not only has the first neighborhood to get Google Fiber, but in fact it's about a year ahead of when any neighborhoods in KCMO will even see Google Fiber flip the switch. KCK was originally named as Google's pick for their new Google Fiber project on March 30th, 2011 a few months later the decision was made to include KCMO in the project as well.
KCK's recent and growing success isn't limited to being picked first for Google Fiber either. This past year KCK was named 19th in Nation for Economic Development (making it #1 in the region and state of Kansas) and Mayor Joe Reardon was named the Kansas Mayor of the Year. In 2011 KCK ranked 11th in the Nation for Employment growth and 3rd in the Nation for the creation of new construction jobs, and so on. In the last decade KCK has seen dramatic growth with the development of the Kansas Speedway, Legends shopping area, Cabela's, Hollywood Casino, Sporting Kansas City's new home at the new Livestrong Stadium, and the Cerner office complex that is currently under construction. With all that economic development KCK has seen decreased unemployment numbers, increased population trends, and record lows in crime. I hate to steal the admittedly bad slogan used by our local KCK Chamber of Commerce a few years ago, but quite frankly "the Dotte is hot".
KCK is no longer the kid brother to KCMO. Under the leadership of Mayor Reardon and others, KCK has made a name for itself and is not only competing in the region but is leading the way. Jason and I can agree on that this is a unique and exciting time in Kansas City's entrepreneurial history and that for Kansas City the future is bright, but let's give credit where credit is due to both cities and both mayors not just the Missouri side.
Follow Colin Curtis on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ColinCurtisKS