Kansas Metropolis enterprise proprietor petitions to rename Troost Avenue

Kansas Metropolis enterprise proprietor petitions to rename Troost Avenue

Chris Goode grew up close to a Kansas Metropolis avenue that honors a slave proprietor and now owns a enterprise alongside that avenue.

As a former member of the Kansas Metropolis Parks and Recreation Board of Commissioners, Goode pushed for J.C. Nichols’ identify to be stripped from the fountain in Mill Creek Park and for the creation of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard within the metropolis. Now, he’s hoping to alter the identify of one of many metropolis’s most well-known streets — Troost Avenue.

Goode created a web-based petition about two weeks in the past that has gotten over 660 signatures as of Thursday afternoon in help of the renaming effort. He sees TRUTH Avenue as a extra becoming identify for the highway, which he hopes will educate residents and passers-by of town’s racist historical past with out honoring a slave proprietor. Eventually, he hopes each constructing and monument recognizing a racist determine is modified or taken down.

“What I do know is that the one method we as folks, we as a metropolis, we as a rustic can heal, we’ve got to undergo fact,” he stated.

The almost 11-mile stretch is called after Benoist Troost, a slave proprietor, Dutch doctor and one in all Kansas Metropolis’s founding fathers.

It’s one of many metropolis’s longest and most well-known streets.

Troost is usually often known as the road that divides Kansas Metropolis racially. For years, housing adverts in The Star specified whether or not listings had been east or west of Troost.

Troost Avenue avenue check in Kansas Metropolis. File picture. The Kansas Metropolis Star

A petition for TRUTH

Goode despatched a memo concerning the petition to native authorities officers, however change gained’t come instantly. Earlier than going by official processes, he desires to listen to from the group.

He and Roosevelt Lyons, a former interim director of Kansas Metropolis Parks and Recreation who labored carefully with Goode on previous renaming and revitalization tasks, plan to host a sequence of group listening classes.

These classes will goal to teach group members on Troost’s historical past whereas permitting them time to course of earlier than deciding what steps they wish to take.

“I need folks to know that we don’t simply should dwell with these streets and monuments and memorials or something that isn’t equitable or isn’t transferring town ahead,” Lyons stated. “We don’t simply should dwell with it and be OK with it.”

To date, Goode stated the petition has principally been met with optimistic suggestions from enterprise house owners, metropolis officers and group members.

And by discovering methods TRUTH Avenue can educate guests on Troost and different slave house owners who had been central to town’s founding and improvement, Goode stated he can fight critics who say renaming a avenue or monument will erase a part of the realm’s historical past.

“To inform the reality concerning the historical past however then transfer swiftly previous it doesn’t erase it,” he stated. “It creates authenticity. It takes the Band-Assist off and opens up precise dialogue that may propel us, that may begin to chip away at this darkness that we’re dwelling.”

Chris Goode, founding father of Ruby Jean’s Juicery, at his new Troost location. Joyce Smith [email protected]

‘I see vibrancy’

From rising up on the East Aspect to proudly owning Ruby Jean’s Juicery, a health-focused juicery and restaurant with a location at thirtieth and Troost, Goode stated the group he is aware of is totally different from the one outsiders describe. When he drives down Troost, Goode stated he sees rising companies and thriving landscapes.

“I see vibrancy,” he stated. “That identify simply doesn’t stand for that.”

Mary Esselman agrees. As director of Operation Breakthrough, a corporation on Troost with packages for low-income children and households, Esselman stated there’s additionally been improvement, achievement and alternative within the space.

“It’s one thing that enables us to actually focus future-forward, and I believe that’s actually vital,” she stated.

This isn’t Goode’s first step towards altering the names of main Kansas Metropolis roads and locations.

Troost Avenue intersects with the stretch Lyons, Goode and others labored to rename as Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard in 2020. It’s ironic, Goode stated, {that a} slave proprietor is honored in the identical method as a civil rights chief.

“It’s such a juxtaposition that we’ve got to discover,” he stated. “There shouldn’t be a chance to see two sides in entrance of us. What Dr. King stood for versus what Dr. Troost stood for is evening and day.”

Associated tales from Kansas Metropolis Star

Kansas Metropolis enterprise proprietor petitions to rename Troost Avenue

Andrea Klick is a breaking information reporter for The Kansas Metropolis Star. She studied journalism and political science on the College of Southern California and grew up close to Allentown, Pennsylvania.

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