Little Boxes Make a Big Difference

They may seem like a small touch to some, but they’ve actually been part of a massive effort to bring about the largest resurgence in the city’s history.

Ten years ago, city leaders recognized that downtown would have to be, as they called it, “clean, green and safe” to attract the kind of reinvestment in downtown they were hoping for and that many thought could never happen. One of the key components of greening downtown was a system of planter boxes throughout the city, adding a touch of life to every block and creating a softer, friendlier environment.

Fast forward a decade and more than $6 Billion invested in the downtown renaissance. That’s Billion. Thanks to the Downtown Council’s Community Improvement Districts, downtown is a place people want to be again and Vireo has been pitching in to green it up even more. Come this Spring, the planter boxes that have been a focal point of the beautification around downtown Kansas City are going to be getting a bit of a face lift.

Two of Vireo’s landscape architects just finished creating several different planting designs that will work in areas of full sun, part sun/shade, and fully shaded areas, giving the CID’s ambassadors (the guys in the yellow jackets) several options for greening up the streets for the next decade. Woodland sage, Wood's purple aster (pictured) Blue grama and Blaze little bluestem are just a few of the new additions you’ll see around downtown so, next time you’re out for a walk on Main, watch where you’re going, but don’t forget to look down once in a while.