The red-brick church has stood at 1815 Paseo for 89 years. Nowadays, there's less dancing; the flock's getting older. That's especially true for the minister, Bishop Herman Cubit, who is just nine years younger than his church. Last year, a stroke left him shuffling around and struggling to climb the big row of red steps leading to Holy Ghost.
Those steps are also partly responsible for his small showing on Sunday mornings. A congregation that once topped 100 members now claims about 40. Cogregants who used wheelchairs or walkers had to be carried up those steps. Many have since given up and gone elsewhere.
So Cubit was pleased when he made a deal to get a wheelchair ramp. The offer came from the Jazz District Redevelopment Corporation, a quasi-government agency that's spent at least $41 million over the past decade to fix up the 18th and Vine neighborhood.
In March 2005, Cubit says, he got a visit from H. David Whalen, who was then executive director of the JDRC. Whalen needed Cubit's permission to use an alley north of the church for a utility project. Cubit says Whalen promised to build him a wheelchair ramp behind the church if Cubit would give up his rights to the alley.
Not long after he made the deal, Cubit had his stroke. He spent three weeks in the hospital and months recovering. By the time he was back at Holy Ghost, Whalen had left the JDRC without public explanation on October 1, 2005. (The Pitch could not reach Whalen for a comment.)
Cubit says that when he called the JDRC earlier this year to check on the status of his ramp, nobody had heard of the deal.
The Pitch found out about Cubit's dilemma last month and left several messages for Whalen's replacement, Denise E. Gilmore.
She didn't return our calls, but at least she finally called Cubit. In late June, she promised that the JDRC would send workers to install the ramp.
Gilmore then sent the Pitch an e-mail. "As you are aware, we've just completed the 2nd annual Rhythm & Ribs Festival on June 16, 17, and 18," she wrote. "Regarding your inquiry about the Holy Ghost New Testament Church at 1815 Paseo, the wheelchair ramp matter has been resolved."
We enjoyed Rhythm & Ribs as much as the next guy, but with such great things going on in the Jazz District, why'd it take media pressure to get an old man his wheelchair ramp?
Welcome to The Bloodpatch
It's shaping up to be the Summer of the Pit Bull.
Cities across the metro are considering bans since pit bulls attacked three men in Independence. Warning against overreaction, lovers of the breed blame negligent owners.
As the debate unfolds, we at the Pitch anticipate that the handsome but occasionally fierce dogs will continue to make news. Here are some stories we may see.
July 13: Citing slobber and a lack of decorum, Royals officials deny pit bulls press credentials.
July 20: Pit bulls protest outside The Kansas City Star's new printing facility. Dogs complain that the redesigned Star shrank Marmaduke and "tastes orange."
July 29: A pit bull is seen mauling bone in the backyard of a Lenexa home. A decision is then made to ban the Toni Morrison novel Beloved.
August 16: The Kansas City Tax Increment Finance Commission grants a group of pit bulls generous incentives to develop Case Park into a mixed-use facility called "The Bloodpatch."
August 21: New Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards sics a pack of pit bulls on a tackling dummy. Training-camp demonstration goes awry when the dogs get a glimpse of underachieving DT Ryan Sims' appreciable rear end.
September 3: Labor Day parade draws a small crowd. Officials are unsure if the event suffers as a result of the St. Patrick's Day Parade, where numskulls with menacing dogs roamed the sidewalks, or because union membership in KC has dwindled to double digits.
Whatever city leaders decide, we only hope the current obsession with pit bulls does not end with a calamity. America, you may remember, was fixated on shark attacks in the weeks leading up to 9/11.