Westport power house and political broker Bill Nigro is the main driver behind this effort and I hear that anyone who talks to him is in danger of catching his insatiable optimism regarding the project. Nigro has been promoting this thing hardcore as something that could not only save Westport but unite all of Kansas City in a celebration of diversity and good times.
Sounds nice, but there are just too many problems with this plan that can’t be overlooked.
First of all, the idea that all of the JoCo interlopers looking to party at the P&L District will hop on the trolley is a bit of a stretch. If recent (and constant) complaints of discrimination and bias at the P&L District are any indication as to the state of affairs at the place: The Live Block was made to keep people out as well as hold them safe inside. The P&L District isn’t an open place where people flow freely in and out like an old school Wesport skank: It’s a island of white, a fortress, a castle intended to keep the good times away from the unwashed masses of Kansas City po’folk and brown people. Finally, I don’t see the P&L District as an active partner in all of this given that the whole plan is nothing more than an effort to spread their patrons all over town.
Like the proposed 1,000 room convention hotel, I keep thinking that if this was such a great idea, a company not completely backed by KC Taxpayer money would’ve made a move to turn a profit on this scheme much earlier. Certainly, this blog isn’t a place for discussions of fiscal conservatism but this cowtown getting into the party tour business represents a new low for local entrepreneurship. And I can only imagine anyone who cared about the economics of the deal would balk at pub crawls that relied on a bit of socialism. All the while money for fountains, basic services, pot holes, snow removal and the like is consistently coming up short in a budget that’s now regularly in deficit.
Finally, the logistics of the plan just don’t make sense. Dragging party people through 18th and Vine was a necessary part of the plan in order to make it acceptable to Eastside Council folk. However, if revenues for the place are to be taken into consideration, it’s obvious that NOBODY REALLY WANTS TO HANG OUT IN THE KC JAZZ DISTRICT ON THE WEEKEND. Furthermore, taking people from downtown through Westport and on to the Plaza requires going through the Broadway Corridor which happens to be one of the most violent places in all of Kansas City. The liability and security aspect of it all seems to be a nightmare in the making.
Yet a bad plan and real world problems have never stopped Kansas City.
So media watchers can expect some fun reports and sneak previews of this party trolley until it inevitably runs out of money; which will happen sooner rather than later. Tragically, instead of improving their establishments, offering customers a better experience and making their business more efficient Kansas City club owners in competition with the P&L District mistakenly believe that a a transit scheme will save the day. Unfortunately, it’s going to take hundreds of thousands of dollars to prove this irresponsible theory incorrect.