Gradually and rationally, momentum is building to move ahead with construction of a new, single terminal at Kansas City International Airport.
I didn’t see yesterday’s development coming — and maybe that’s the way city officials wanted it — but for a Southwest Airlines official, as well as an outside consultant, to say publicly that renovating KCI’s existing terminals would cost more than building a new, single terminal is a significant jerk of the needle.
The needle of progress, is what I’m talking about.
I realize a lot of people — thousands and thousands of people — still need to be convinced of the wisdom of a single, modern terminal. But more than ever, I now have real hope that an attitude shift will come.
The Star’s editorial this morning framed the debate perfectly, I thought…
“Kansas City should focus on what it would take to construct a new terminals and, for now, stop looking at major renovations to the current terminals.”
I have been saying this for well over a year now: The current, multi-terminal design, while convenient, is no longer practical and has outlived its usefulness. In addition, as I have said many times — and as is as clear as the realization that the Royals need another starting pitcher — KCI sucks.
The bullpen holding areas…the lack of a common security checkpoint…the dearth of any decent food places (not to mention shopping possibilities)…the dark, depressing environment…It’s a disaster.
And…it’s getting worse by the day. The movement to scrub the multi-terminal design began with the Aviation Department in 2012, and the Aviation Department is still pushing hard for modernization. So, do you think we’ll see the department pouring a lot of money into maintaining and improving what we’ve got now?
By benign neglect, the Aviation Department has the power to make KCI unbearable. I don’t think that will happen, but continued deterioration is what we’re going to get at the 47-year-old airport.
…We’ve seen tremendous improvements and modernization in our city during the last decade. Sprint Center is an unqualified, booming success; the Power & Light District has played a pivotal role in downtown resuscitation; the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts is a stunning jewel; the Crossroads district is a terrific, southward extension of downtown and a powerful attraction for residents and tourists alike. And if you drive Main Street these days and see those steel rails going down, you can feel in your bones (drive it, you’ll feel it, I guarantee it) that the streetcar is going to be a powerful lure…again, for residents and tourists alike.
In the midst of all that progress, to stand pat with a rundown, pathetic airport is like buying a house and totally renovating it inside but keeping the broken-down furniture and refusing to paint the exterior.
Yes, building a new terminal at the site of Terminal A and razing terminals B and C is an expensive “paint job.” But it needs to happen for Kansas City to continue to call itself a first-class city and for us to remain competitive with cities like St. Louis, Louisville, Tampa and Nashville.
Next year, very likely, we will get a chance to vote on whether to keep Kansas City moving forward or to continue wallowing in the quicksand of “convenience.”
Come on, Kansas Citians, let’s put the broken down Laz-Y-Boy on the curb, hire a good painting crew and finish the makeover of this great place we call home!