Today at Bannister Mall, the rally to support the tearing down and redevelopment of the area occurred outside the old Dillard’s entrance. Which, as you can see, has seen much better days. There was a large crowd there, at least 100-150 people there, many of them with signs against the petition and for the redevelopment of the area. Not bad for only 3 or so days of getting it together, according to Al Brooks, who basically MC’d the rally. Most of the ralliers were local citizens, mainly from one of the local churches. Also there, though, were many community leaders who were in support of the project, including, Chuck Eddy, John Sharp, sixth district rep, Cathy Jolly, sixth district at large, Representative Michael Brown, representatives from both the KCMO and Hickman Mills school district, including Hickman Mills superintendent Marge Williams, along with many others, including cameras from Fox 4, KCTV 5, and KMBC 9 as well as the local print medias.
All of the major leaders spoke about the need for this development and the back handed and lying nature that Richard Tolbert apparently is using to get people to sign the petition to stop this plan. As councilman John Sharp said when he spoke, “The people that don’t want this to happen don’t even live in this area. They live no where near it. The people that are for this are those that live here in the community.”
“We need more here then a flea market.” Sharp continued. “Soccer is the hook to make the retail work.”
Representative Michael Brown spoke again on the states support for this project and that it needed to happen. As one of the other speakers said, “There is a hole in the soul of the sixth district.”
Many of the speakers got the crowd involved, starting “Decline to sign” chants. And call and response asking if Bannister Mall was dead, and if the community deserved this redevelopment. Both of which received resounding yeses from the crowd.
As expected, the opposition, Richard Tolbert and his friends showed up as well. After hanging back from the main group for a little bit, the group moved over to their own area. Putting up a sign saying “Save the Mall.” There were a grand total of 4 of them there. They accomplished the goal that I assumed they’d set out to do though, and that’s to get on the news about their stance, as the news people all went over to talk with them as well after the rally had ended.
Below are a few more pictures of the rally, the first is a lady who let me take a picture of her with her sign. The second is of the entire Save Bannister group. The third is a picture of the rally group right before it started. You can view all the pictures I took at the event here