Although mostly abandoned, the Linwood Shopping Center still has enough potential to be a great asset for Kansas Citians.
The retail area, which once had a full-service grocery store and drugstore, opened in 1986 at Linwood Boulevard and Prospect Avenue. The grocery that anchored the center closed in 2007.
The city’s multimillion-dollar investment in the shopping center will keep the wrecking ball away. The tax incentives and $13.25 million in bond proceeds approved by the City Council to redevelop the center could be a solid use of public resources.
This also is a great time to pursue revival of the Linwood Shopping Center.
The new East Patrol Division police station and crime lab are bringing more people and an increased sense of safety to the area.
The Lucile Bluford Branch of the Kansas City Public Library across from the shopping center stays busy and full of people.
The new full-service grocery store is to open in the center by Christmas 2017.
That should give East Side residents and even those from downtown more options and pull the area from being a food desert.
City officials will have to make sure that the company that will operate the new store stocks high quality food and a good variety of fruits and vegetables as well as other less perishable items that residents really need.
The re-opening of the Linwood Shopping Center could help spur a revival of the surrounding neighborhood. Existing homes and apartments could be fixed up and occupied, while in-fill housing on long-vacant lots is built.
It will take the public and private sector working together to make this project a success for a still-vital part of east Kansas City.