This week's column involves a shopping center in Lee's Summit that's getting taxpayer assistance. Nowadays, big retail centers receive incentives as a matter of course. Curious to know what cities did (if anything) for the malls of yesterday, I went to the Missouri Valley Room at the Central Library to look at old newspaper and magazine articles.
One source turned up in a 1984 edition of Kansas City Magazine. The article described the effects of Bannister Mall on Truman Corners in Grandview. The piece mentioned that Bannister Mall's developers negotiated with government authorities to improve nearby roads and highways -- a process that tax-increment financing would standardize in years to come.
I had a hard time keeping my eyes on the story about the malls, however, because a 25-year-old edition of a city magazine is mesmerizing. The first article to grab me featured 84 Kansas City faces worth watching.
The eye-worthy politicians in 1984 included Jerry Riffel, a Fourth District Kansas City councilman, and Mike White, fresh off a term as Jackson County executive. Riffel and White are today prominent lawyers, but their political careers pale next to that of another attention getter in '84 -- Claire McCaskill. Then a measly but fetching state representative, the current U.S. senator was described by the magazines's editors as tough, bright and still climbing. Future Kansas City Star editor and publisher Art Brisbane, then a Kansas City Times columnist, appeared on the same page of the magazine as McCaskill.
The magazine recalls how bleak the post-Stram pre-Schottenheimer years were for Chiefs fans. Quarterback Todd Blackledge and head coach John Mackovic were ones to watch -- but not for long. Three seasons later, both were gone.
Heavy with media personalities, the list praised the chops of Star reporter Rick Alm and cartoonist Lee Judge. Alas, their full-time positions disappeared in recent rounds of downsizing at The Star.