One man's dream is good news for Union Station.

Pie in the Sky 

One man's dream is good news for Union Station.

Page 3 of 3

A couple of years ago, you'd go to Union Station in the middle of the day and find an empty cavern — great for gazing at the gorgeous ceiling but depressing in its very expensive deadness. Go to Union Station in the middle of the day now and you'll still see yellow buses full of schoolchildren who have been kidnapped and hauled to Science City. There's a good chance you might also see a crowd. People doing business at the post office. Old guys in overalls and railroad caps — train enthusiasts who volunteer at the museum — eating at the Union Café. Business types in expensive suits heading to power lunches at the high-end Pierpont's. Shoppers at the station's gift store, buying T-shirts and books and other reminders of the days when Union Station really was the heart of America and travelers from all over the country flowed through its arteries.

Go there on a snowy Saturday before Christmas, and you'll see families swarming a model train display that fills one end of the station's Grand Hall — a living postcard of a holiday ritual that we all thought was long gone. And over in one corner, the choir from an inner-city high school singing Christmas carols will make you weep.

Union Station's getting better. I'm not talking about the numbers, because the place may never pay for itself. (Its utility bills alone are a million bucks a year.) After the station's restoration, consultants wrecked the place with their lame ideas and inflated numbers. Everyone knew it just needed an infusion of genuine Kansas City spirit from regular Kansas City folks.

That's the other reason I'm willing to believe in Richard Cargo.

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