KC voters to decide: MLK Blvd or a return to The Paseo

Bill Grady
October 23, 2019 - 9:04 am

Kansas City, MO - The citizens group Save the Paseo is gearing up for a public vote November 5th, when members hope to restore The Paseo name to one of the city's most historic thoroughfares.

The group's campaign is designed to reverse a city council vote renaming The Paseo after Dr Martin Luther King saying there wasn't enough community engagement in the process to swap the names. 

The 10-mile boulevard was named after Mexico City’s Paseo De La Reforma more than a century ago.

Some members of Kansas City's African-American community are expressing doubts about the group's motives.

The campaign contains an element of racism, claims Dr. Vernon Howard, president of the Kansas City chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Howard argues most of the petitioners for the public vote do not live along The Paseo/MLK Blvd. 

Members of Save the Paseo pose, holding signs urging people to vote to halt the renaming of The Paseo in Kansas City


"Folks that desire to come in, take control of the land, take control of the community, including street names that would not be as appealing if they were named after an African-American hero," Howard said.

Save the Paseo says the real issue is about community-wide inclusion, across all ethnic and cultural lines, and they say that is what Dr. King stood for. 

Voters will decide by a YES or NO vote whether to change the name of the boulevard back to The Paseo.

The ballot language reads, "Shall the City of Kansas City change the name of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., which is approximately 9.98 miles in length from the center line of Lexington Avenue south and east to a point south of the center line of East 85th Street, back to The Paseo Boulevard?"



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