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)

During the few warm days we’ve had as of the time of this writing, it had been great to see all the neighbors out and about. Visiting on porches, hanging out on the sidewalks and enjoying the company of our neighbors is one of the things that make this neighborhood special. With the nice weather, all of our children and grandchildren are also out and about on their bikes, scooters, playing tag and generally running around. Remember to please be extra careful and slow down as you drive through the neighborhood to help keep all of us safe. Make sure you tell your relatives and friends who come to visit to slow down. Happy summer everyone! And thank you.

(submitted by Amado Tamayo)

My mom and dad are home. Like, all of the time. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? Before, I accepted my fate of being left behind when I saw them spend lots of time in something called a bathroom, and the dreaded, “Be a good boy. See you later.”

Now, I’m lucky if they even take a shower! I always told them baths were horrible and now they seem to understand. Our new routine is the best. We sleep in (unless my annoying sister wakes us all up), eat breakfast together, go on a walk, watch the TV, eat some more, even another walk—SO MANY WALKS. My sister and I still nap most of the day, but now we know when we wake up that our parents will still be there…probably in the same chair, talking to a bunch of other humans on a tiny screen. Weird. The best part of this new life is getting to meet so many new doggie friends! A lot of young pups out there: Buster Brown, Rocket, Mary, Waylan, Daisy, and Leo and I guess my sister, Fawkes. It is just so nice to see all these new faces and sniff so many new smells.

OH MY GOSH, I almost forgot the very best part: a super special daily occurrence. Can you guess? TREATS. From the best two people on the entire planet (sorry Mom and Dad). 10/10 neighborhood pets would take a treat from them. I know
when they are coming, although sometimes they are sneaky and no friends alert us to their presence. But, since my parents are home now, they let us out to receive treats (only one)! Boy were we missing out before. The only downside has been the extra fluff these treats have added…with limited doggie parks, my Albus Gordon and friend figure has certainly struggled. Not to mention my fur and my nails, yikes! It will be OK though. I will gladly take this extra time with my little family, knowing that I’ll once again hear, “You stay. We love you.”

(submitted by Albus Gordon)

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and responsible distancing practices, this newsletter is being distributed to residents of Coleman Highlands via email instead of the regular printed copy. This is not a permanent change. The Coleman Highlands Neighborhood Association Board will continue to monitor recommendations by the CDC and Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas in deciding when to resume door-to-door distribution of a printed newsletter. We welcome feedback about your preferences regarding electronic versus printed copy, but we are always going to put the safety and wellbeing of our neighbors first. If you have a neighbor that does not have email or isn’t on the resident email list, please print a copy for them or let the Board know so we can get them a copy (using safe practices, of course).