The "Other" Kansas City
Kansas City, Kansas (KCK), the smaller and less popular sister city of Kansas City, Missouri (KCMO), is on the move. Few cities in Kansas cities--if any--have experienced the level of housing and retail growth that KCK has the past few years. The Kansas (NASCAR) Speedway and The Legends, a retail and entertainment destination attraction, have made Kansas City, Kansas, a major tourist attraction. Aside from development, though, there isn't much else for Kansas Citians to brag about.
KCK's downtown, once lively and full of stores, is unattractive and has few stores and eating establishments. Most Kansas Citians complain that downtown is a shell of its former self. But, while downtown is surrounded by older neighborhoods, the local government IS committed to revitalizing the area--and they've done a fairly good job thus far. Several housing developments have been built in the last few years and more are underway (unfortunately, retail, which will support the new communities, has not kept pace).
Most of KCK's development (Kansas Speedway, Village West, e.g.) has taken place out west in the more affluent part of the city. Lots of Kansas Citians take issue with the local government, arguing that too much attention is being paid to retail development out west and too little on residential development in the east.
KCK is located in Wyandotte County, one of the poorest counties in Kansas; and it borders Johnson County, one of the most affluent counties in THE entire country! Most of KCK's consumer dollars are spent in Johnson County, though Village West has helped keep some of those dollars in the county.
Most of the best jobs in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area are in KCMO and Johnson County--and, sadly, many of the best jobs in KCK are held by Kansas City Missourians or Johnson Countians!
Kansas City, Kansas, is not a BAD place to live, but it's nothing special either. The development notwithstanding, it's not a city I'd recommend.