New plan hopes to help historic Armourdale

KANSAS CITY, Kansas – The Armourdale neighborhood of Kansas City Kansas has roots stretching back almost 140 years.

However, the neighborhood is going through difficult times and its population is shrinking.

Wyandotte County Unified Government leaders have a plan to help Armourdale get back on his feet. At one time, Armourdale was home to 12,000 residents, but now it has only 2,500.

“The residential status of the Armourdale neighborhood is here to stay,” said Gunnar Hand, Wyandotte County planning director.

This status has not always been a certainty. Armourdale’s birth dates back to 1882, and KCK executives only considered zoning the area for industrial purposes at one point. Hand said the owners had gradually moved out of the area as heavy industrial factories arrived.

On Thursday, Hand presented a new master plan focused on Armourdale, which sits alongside S. 7e Street near Interstate 70. The strategy is to get people to live and start businesses in the neighborhood, which is made up largely of Latin American families. Right now, many people work in the heavy industrial factories in Armourdale, but they live elsewhere.

“This master plan does not seek to remove any of these businesses, but sets out a vision where, over time, we will revitalize the core of the neighborhood as primarily commercial and residential uses,” Hand said.

Another facet of this master plan focuses on the Kansas River, which almost surrounds Armourdale. Hand wonders why the river can’t be used for recreation and retail, and attract more options like the next Rock Island Bridge project.

Claudine Sanders, vice president of the Armourdale Renewal Association, loves the project. Sanders’ group works with residents who feel their owners have treated them unfairly.

“This is really a big project that would bring a lot of visitors to Kansas City, Kansas,” Sanders said. “The people who have managed to stay here and continue to make it their home, I would like them to feel safe and honored for all the hard work they have provided in this community.

A number of residents attended a town hall meeting at the Armourdale Community Center on Thursday afternoon.

A schedule of upcoming meetings is available on the Armourdale Strong website. Armourdale’s master plan also seeks to create healthier lifestyles for people there, where sources of recreation and healthy food are limited. Hand said county leaders will review this strategy every 10 years when it is in effect.

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