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Nick’s Picks | Stadium News, Big 12 Basketball and St. Patrick’s Day Fun, Games and News

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Above image credit: "Kansas City Week in Review" host Nick Haines. (John McGrath | Flatland)
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4 minute read

Kansas City is about to make history this week. The KC Current’s new riverfront soccer stadium opens at noon on Saturday.  

It’s billed as the world’s first stadium built exclusively for a women’s professional sports team. 

In addition to soccer, the 11,500-seat stadium will double as a venue for concerts, festivals and graduations. 

On Saturday, the KC Current will open the 2024 season at its new home, in a sold-out match against the Portland Thorns. 

Big 12 Basketball Tournament

The sound of squeaky shoes on highly polished hardwood floors will reverberate downtown this week as the Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship begins at T-Mobile Center. The five-day tournament starts on Tuesday. 

The Big 12 Women’s Basketball Championship tournament will also be decided in Kansas City this week. The women’s final is Tuesday night at T-Mobile Center. 

Crowds of people in the Power and Light District during basketball games.
Crowds gather at the Power & Light District for the Big 12 Basketball Tournaments. (Contributed | VisitKC)

COVID Anniversary 

Four years ago today, Kansas City began to shut down. 

Shortly after noon on March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization formally declared that COVID had become a global pandemic.  

Within 24 hours, the Big 12 Basketball Championship in Kansas City was canceled, Mayor Quinton Lucas had declared a state of emergency, and by the end of the week, schools and workplaces had closed. 

The worst pandemic in a century had begun. 

St. Patrick’s Day 

A fatal shooting at the Chiefs Super Bowl victory parade last month has rattled many Kansas City families.  

Will it discourage you from going to a parade again? 

It’s a question that’s weighing heavily on organizers of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  

The annual event is marking its 50th anniversary this year. 

While parade organizers say safety is top of mind, it’s not clear what additional steps have been taken to enhance security. 

The Kansas City St. Patrick’s Day Parade starts Sunday at 11 a.m. at the intersection of Broadway and Linwood Boulevard.  

The route travels south along Broadway to 43rd Street. 

More than a dozen area cities are hosting their own St. Patrick’s Day events.  

North Kansas City is hosting its 40th Snake Parade on Saturday. 

Lee’s Summit is moving in a different direction. For the first time in 20 years, the city has decided to cancel its annual Emerald Isle Parade and host a block party instead.  

Shamrock the Block starts Saturday at 10 a.m. in downtown Lee’s Summit. 

North Kansas City hosts the Annual Snake Saturday Parade
North Kansas City hosts the annual Snake Parade on Saturday. (File Photo)

Stadium Tax  

Downtown business leaders have long dreamed of seeing Major League Baseball being played in the heart of the city.  

But some of that enthusiasm is now waning.  

Local elected officials are being inundated with complaints from residents and business owners in the Crossroads, who say they’ll be displaced to make room for the Royals proposed 34,000-seat stadium.  

Now Jackson County officials are scrambling to respond. They’ve scheduled a public hearing today to listen to the concerns of those living and working in the Crossroads neighborhood.  

It starts at 3 p.m. on the second floor of the Jackson County Courthouse, 415 E. 12th St. 

A view looking south from the proposed Kansas City Royals ballpark to the Crossroads and Crown Center.
A view looking south from the proposed Kansas City Royals stadium to the Crossroads and Crown Center. (Courtesy | Populous)

Presidential Campaign  

Now that Donald Trump and Joe Biden have cleared the field of rivals for their respective party nominations, does anyone care that more than half the country has yet to vote?  

This week, four more states will host presidential primaries and caucuses.  

On Tuesday, Georgia, Mississippi, Washington and Hawaii will weigh in.  

There are enough delegates up for grabs this week for Biden and Trump to officially cross the finish line and clinch their parties’ nominations. 

That makes next week’s primary in Kansas even more inconsequential. Missouri Democrats hold their primary on March 23. 

Slain Court Worker 

Jackson County leaders say some government services will be disrupted today as county employees gather to memorialize Drexel Mack. He’s the county court worker who was killed outside of an Independence home while executing an eviction notice.  

Independence police officer Cody Allen was also killed in the shooting. 

Mack will be remembered during a public service at the downtown Jackson County Courthouse at 11 a.m. today. 

Parson Pardon?  

Now that Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has commuted the prison sentence of former Chiefs coach Britt Reid, is Eric DeValkenaere next? 

DeValkenaere is the first Kansas City police officer convicted of killing a Black man. 

The former detective is currently serving a six-year sentence for manslaughter and armed criminal action in the 2019 shooting of Cameron Lamb. 

Parson says he’s still reviewing the case. 

The Republican governor has used his clemency power far more than his predecessors. According to the Associated Press, Parson has issued more than 600 pardons in the past three years – more than any other Missouri governor since the 1940s. 

U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Kansas City has warned that clemency for DeValkenaere would be politically explosive. 

Flat Tax in Kansas 

When it comes to state politics, some issues never die. 

Guess what’s making a comeback this week in Kansas?  

The flat tax.  

The issue was declared dead a few weeks ago after lawmakers failed to overturn Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto of the proposal. Now it’s being resurrected in a new form.  

The new flat tax bill has a hearing set for Tuesday in the Senate Tax Committee. 

The Rabbit Hole 

In addition to a new soccer stadium, Kansas City is opening a new children’s museum this week. 

After years of planning, The Rabbit Hole will bring storybooks to life with immersive life-size scenes from kids’ classics like “Good Night Moon,” “Amelia Bedelia,” and “Curious George.” 

The museum is a longtime passion project for the former owners of the Reading Reptile bookstore in Brookside. 

The Rabbit Hole opens Tuesday in a four-story warehouse in North Kansas City’s Iron District. 

Nick Haines tracks the week’s most impactful local news stories on “Kansas City Week in Review,” Friday at 7:30 p.m. on Kansas City PBS.

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