The Santa Fe Area Council and the City of Kansas City worked with the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority (LCRA) to create the Santa Fe Area Council Urban Renewal Plan. The recently-created Urban Renewal Area is bound by E. 27th Street on the north. Indiana Avenue on the east, Linwood Boulevard on the south, and Prospect Avenue on the west.
The Santa Fe neighborhood began as part of John Thornton’s distillery and grain mill and later became the Lockridge family farm, which survived into the early 1890s. In 1893, Santa Fe Place began as an exclusive residential neighborhood and by 1915, it had become one of Kansas City’s preeminent neighborhoods for White middle- and upper-class families.
Kansas City’s “Twenty Blocks of Black” laid just to the west across Prospect Avenue, so in 1931 the neighborhood created a covenant that prohibited the sale or rental of any property to Black people for at least thirty years. Just seventeen years later, Dr. D.M. Miller and his wife became the first Black residents of the Santa Fe neighborhood. During the 1950s, the Santa Fe neighborhood became one of the preferred neighborhoods for affluent Black families in Kansas City. The Santa Fe and the neighborhood thrived for many years.
Kansas City’s “Twenty Blocks of Black” and adjacent black neighborhoods, including Santa Fe, began to decline in the early 1960s as the nation’s civil rights landscape underwent seismic shifts and allowed middle- and upper-income African-American families to move out, dramatically weakening the economic base of the historically minority neighborhoods. Many long-term residents that could move did move out to more suburban areas, following jobs and better schools. This out-migration depressed property values, which made the Santa Fe neighborhood more affordable to lower-income families and attractive to absentee landlords.
There are, however, signs of change in the area. The Linwood Shopping Center and Linwood Square shopping centers, adjacent to the Santa Fe neighborhood’s southwestern edge, have recently been reinvigorated. Some adjacent neighborhoods are experiencing an influx of new homeowners, who are discovering the architectural appeal and value of the existing housing stock or building new homes, as well as the ease of access to downtown and the entire metropolitan area.
There is renewed interest in revitalizing the historic homes associated with some of Kansas City’s historic jazz musicians, as well as the home of Satchel Paige, one of the Negro League’s icons. The Santa Fe neighborhood is well-positioned to benefit from these attributes.
The Santa Fe Area Council and the City plan to rehabilitate historic homes as well as construct new single-family homes, to stabilize and strengthen the neighborhood’s economic base. The Santa Fe Area Council was recently granted $500,000 from the Central City Economic Development Sales Tax District to help rehabilitate a number of homes. The Plan’s proponents believe that these proposed projects would help attract new residents to the neighborhood.