by Stacey Kenyon

Do you have a case of spring fever? Do you have a home improvement “to do” list started? Is a call to City Hall on that list?

Coleman Highlands has been a KCMO designated Historic District since 1996. This honors the history and architecture of our neighborhood and supports its preservation. As such, a design review is required for alterations that are visible from public right of way for all properties in Coleman Highlands Historic District: changes of building materials, colors, and structural landscaping, for example.

The Kansas City Historic Preservation Office (HPO) and the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) oversee designated Historic Districts like ours. HPO staff is available for questions about exterior changes on your home. They will advise on design review requirements, applications for Certificate of Appropriateness, and Commission hearings. To contact the Historic Preservation Office, call (816) 513-2902 or email .

Applications for Certificate of Appropriateness are submitted through CompassKC. Fees start at $26 for an administrative approval.

by Bill  & Mary Ann Allen

We feel that there is no place in the universe that can compare with Coleman Highlands!  It has the most thoughtful neighbors one could dream or hope for. The families in CH are genuinely courteous, kind, and cheerful. Starting with the grandparents down through grandchildren.

Most everyone knows that we walk the neighborhood every day. But what makes our routine different is that we feed a lot of pets along the way, especially with the puppy boom the coronavirus has brought us. Persons and families walking their dogs graciously allow us to give them treats. We only give one biscuit though, as we don’t want them to lose their figures.

So you might ask what is so special about that? Well, families in CH go over and above when they see us coming. Children as young as 4 all the way up to the parents and grandparents either go into their homes to get or come out with their pets. It’s not just a few, but many. If the owners are inside, the dogs let them know that we are coming. More often than not a family member stops whatever they’re doing and lets their dogs or cats out. It is absolutely amazing.

There is no way to express the gratitude and joy that this brings us. The camaraderie, laughter, and delight unequivocally make our day… And it happens every day of the year. Thanks for letting us be a part of your lives.

When I was a little kid in the 1970s, I remember my abuelito, Antonio, always tending to his small plot of land on the Westside at 21st and Madison. He was a Mexican immigrant that lived through World Wars, The Great Depression, and economic struggles on both sides of the border. He was a rugged blue-collar worker and knew how to grow food for himself and his family. Antonio carried a pocketknife and a handkerchief, and he wore an assortment of fedoras, felt bowlers, and western hats. Antonio was always outside weeding the garden that kept us fed during the fall and winter months. I saw tomato, onion, garlic, jalapeño, and cilantro plants, and he even had a few rows of maíz. And if that wasn’t enough, he managed to take care of three fruit trees (apple, peach, and apricot) and a grape vine.

Now mind you, Antonio planted a garden that was at least 25 by 50 feet long in the inner city… all nestled in the middle of two vacant lots and our house. I remember the smell of the freshly tilled dirt, the flowering plants, the ripening of veggies and fruits, and helping with the first harvests of the summer. Best of all were the salsas, grilled corn, and dishes that were produced from Antonio’s garden. These were the best memories of my grandfather’s love and dedication to his garden and family.

We have lived in Coleman Highlands now for over 17 years and have always wanted to build a garden. I’m a full-time professor and part-time musician, and I rarely have time to get the soil ready for planting, let alone try to build a raised garden and such. These have all been excuses for not using the green thumb I inherited from both sides of my family. To garden or not during COVID-19 was my question…and I say ABSOLUTELY!
Here are five reasons to garden during COVID-19 as suggested by Morning Ag Clips.

Gardening…

1. Is a relaxing activity that can be recreational and provides personal rewards.

2. Can get kids to participate in hands-on activities that will enhance their learning.

3. Can help us cope with boredom and it gives us a sense of security as a society and family.

4. Can make economic sense now as it did during wars, a depression, and a few recessions.

5. Can create a community space shared by neighbors, family, and friends, building kinship during good times and not the not-so good.

In this time of physical distancing, with proper personal care we can once again share a healthy bounty of fruits and vegetables (all washed of course) among family, neighbors, and friends. I have no more excuses for not building a raised garden, as I have extra wood in the backyard, two strong and healthy teenagers that can help till the dirt, and three grown adults in the house that can also help sow, weed, and harvest. If you’ve ever thought about gardening and getting to smell, share, and eat the fruits and veggies of your labor, now is the time. Happy gardening, be healthy, and wishing you well!

(submitted by Uzziel H. Pecina)

Coleman Highlands is already seeing a 50% increase so far this year in activity and sales than in all of 2019. The following are some of the reasons. Everyone realizes that the pandemic shut down the country earlier this year, causing a significant decline in economic activity. The real estate market, however, is in a totally different position than it was in the last recession, a decade ago. But there are distinct differences that indicate the housing market may follow a much different path. While housing led the recession in 2008-2009, this time it may be poised to bring us out of it.

Four of the major differences in today’s real estate market are:

1) Families have large sums of equity in their homes
2) We have a shortage of housing inventory, not an overabundance
3) Irresponsible lending no longer exists
4) Home price appreciation is not out of control

We must also realize that a recession does not mean a housing crash will follow. In three of the four previous recessions prior to 2008, home values increased. In the other one, home prices depreciated by only 1.9%. Unlike 2008, this time the housing industry is in much better shape to weather the storm. Coleman Highlands is a perfect example… In 2019 we saw nine homes sell for the entire year; so far in 2020, four homes have already sold and three more are under contract as of June 10th.

Source: www.keepingcurrentmatters.com

(submitted by Cathie Chesen)

In June of 1996, our City Council voted unanimously to designate Coleman Highlands as a Historic District. (KCMO Ord. 960559). Not only did this recognize the unique history and make-up of our neighborhood, with that honor it brought a layer of protection that would ensure this charm remains for generations to come.

The Kansas City Historic Preservation Office (HPO) and the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) oversee designated Historic Districts like ours through a design review of alterations that are visible from public right of way. This encourages quality design and ensures changes are complimentary with the character of Coleman Highlands. Review is required for all properties in Coleman Highlands Historic District. Does this sound complicated? HPO staff is available for questions about exterior changes on your home. They will advise on design review requirements, applications for Certificate of Appropriateness, and Commission hearings. Applications for Certificate of Appropriateness are submitted through CompassKC. Fees start at $26 for an administrative approval.

While some have complained about the extra steps needed for refreshing our homes, incentives for this protection are easy to see. Take a walk down any Coleman Highlands street to see history in place, architectural integrity a century old, and hundreds of reasons we love where we live. A ten-minute stroll will remind you why we take this inexpensive and measured approach to preserving our neighborhood.

To contact the Historic Preservation Office, call (816) 513-2902 or email . You can read more about the various ordinances applicable to Coleman Highlands here.

(submitted by Stacey Kenyon)