Last night, I talked with a couple of my neighbors that were walking by my house. These neighbors live a couple of blocks from us, and we seldom see them except for at neighborhood events. And while they're neighbors we don't know all that well, they're people we generally like to talk with when we see them.
But it was weird to see them walking down our street.
As I was talking to them, they mentioned that they were headed to grab an early dinner at Exquisite Cuisine at 34th ant Troost...one of two new restaurants that have opened up this past month on that corner. These two places opened up just one block from where KCP&L wanted to put its new electrical substation.
It was great to see people walking to dinner along our street. For too long Hyde Park has sat relatively isolated from walkable eating establishments...this has made Hyde Park an oft-times less desireable neighborhood than other urban neighborhoods like Brookside, Roanoke, Westport, West Plaza and Union Hill.
That appears to be changing. As people get out and walk around more in the neighborhood, their mere presence will make the streets safer from crime (people don't like to be watched committing crimes), creates more neighborhood conversations and friends, and overall increases the joy of living in these neighborhoods....which raises property values, etc.
My wife and I walked down to the other restaurant (Shanghai Express) for dinner Friday night -- and spoke with the owner of Exquisite Cuisine and one of his friends outslde of the restaurant. It was fun to meet them and hang out there for a few minutes.
My hope is that the residents of Hyde Park, Center City and Squire Park, that live near these new restaurants will visit them and keep them in business. It's important to the neighborhoods to support their local restauranteurs. And it's building viability in the neighborhood. And I hope you waive hi to me on my front porch as you walk by. And yes, I still hope KCP&L continues to move toward not putting their substation on this block and killing this growth.