Jim Leedy is a Crossroads District pioneer. Twenty years ago, the sculptor and Kansas City Art Institute instructor bought a building in what was then a forgettable part of town so he could have affordable studio space. Today, the Crossroads is a thriving community of galleries, restaurants and lofts -- maybe too thriving. Higher prices and taxes on land were beginning to threaten the existence of the people who made the neighborhood so appealing in the first place, so Leedy and others challenged public officials to help them remain there. Their efforts are slowly coming to fruition. One serious proposal would target tax abatements at people and businesses designated as "creative" -- a distinction this town hasn't really considered in its indiscriminate granting of tax breaks to wealthy developers. "Jim's always been a really vocal advocate for keeping opportunities viable for artists in the Crossroads," says El Dorado architect (and former Leedy tenant) David Dowell. "It's his mantra, and people have heard him loudly and clearly."