It's often been said that Kansas City has a way of screwing things up.
After making my first trip to the Sprint Center and the surrounding
area, one thing is for sure: they got this one right. The Sprint
Center, the Power and Light District and KC Live are getting rave
reviews this weekend. Everyone connected to the project should have a
beer on me.
Yeah, it's a little pricey, but the area is hip, trendy and a great
place to people watch in between games. And no bowling alley
I've ever been in has had leather couches. So far, restaurants have
been full, but I've been able to get in quickly. Parking is a problem,
but I think that's going to get better the more the area hosts events
Overall, though, everyone's just going nuts about the tournaments first
trip to KC.
Dennis Dodd of cbs.sportsline.com is a Kansas City resident,
and he says that he's amazed at the atmosphere created for the
tournament this weekend.
“I've told people I'm proud of the city. For year, downtown
was a dump and we all know what Kemper was like. I'd rather pay $10 for
parking near the Sprint Center than ruin a pair of shoes walking from
my parking spot at Kemper.”
Scout.com's Eric Bossi agrees.
“It's a little bit of a change for Kansas City, but I like
it. I'm sure there will be people who will gripe about the money that
was spent, but I'll pay a little extra to have someplace nice to come
The KC Live area was hopping during the Colorado-Oklahoma and
Texas-Oklahoma games, so I can only imagine what it'll be like if KU
makes Sunday's final.
This little pocket of the city has been packed with fans from across
the conference, and everyone seems to be having a great time, although
I haven't spoken with Frank Martin yet.
It's also been a very family-friendly area this weekend. The area has a
wide target audience: for every student in orange and black or purple,
there's a family of four wearing crimson and cream or crimson and blue,
yelling, “Go, Big Red!” I would make a case for
fans wearing burnt orange, but I'm still looking for one.
Crowds have been very well-behaved, from all accounts, even though
there have been some potentially-scary combinations of fan bases.
Donna Greenwell, public safety officer working the KC Live area
Saturday afternoon, said, “It's been nice. No problems at
all. A couple of fights, but other than that, we haven't had any major
Apparently we can all get along.
So with new restaurants, an open-air entertainment area suitable for
concerts and rallies, a shiny new 18,500-sear arena and rabid college
basketball fans who feel like the tournament belongs here, is it enough
to lure the Big 12 Tournament back to Kansas City for good once the
current agreement is done.
“It certainly couldn't hurt,” Bossi said.
“Everyone wants something nice for all their fans, and it
looks like it's going to be relatively well-supported so it'll look
good on TV. I think they get that down here.”
But whether or not the tournament relocates of a static location in the
near future, the development downtown is a crown jewel for a city that
hasn't exactly embraced big-time change like this.
“Kansas City has the worst school district in the country.
City government is borderline corrupt. Progress occurs at a glacial
pace. But for me, this redefines the city,” Dodd said.
Kansas City Has Bells On This Weekend
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