Skip to comments.Flag installation begins for ‘Grand Boulevard of the Americas’
Posted on 08/18/2007 8:08:37 AM PDT by hedgetrimmer
Work crews Thursday began installing the first of 152 sturdy vinyl flags that will flutter 24/7 from city light poles along Kansas Citys renamed Grand Boulevard of the Americas.
The project, a tribute to the 35 nations of the Organization of American States, is the brainchild of local businessman and longtime civic activist James M. Malouff III.
I dont want to demean our heritage, he said Thursday. But were way beyond cow town. Kansas City is a cosmopolitan city engaged in international business and cultural exchanges, with emerging international visitor attractions such as the World War I Museum.
He said the flag display was part of a vision to see Kansas City become more identifiable, locally, nationally and internationally, as a player in the global village.
Malouff said that in the future he hoped to further cement Kansas Citys international reputation with a Pan American Initiative that could include putting on a hemispheric trade show, an OAS ambassadors summit and perhaps even the Pan American Games in 2019.
Malouff hopes that OAS Secretary Jose Miguel Insulza of Chile will accept the citys invitation this fall to dedicate the flag display and also present the first in a tentative lecture series on the Western Hemisphere being planned by the Kansas City Public Library.
Malouff is president of Malouff Cos., which is engaged in commercial real estate and development. He is on the board of the World War I Museum, is a commissioner of the Sister Cities Association of Kansas City and has been active in other local and regional organizations with international agendas. The national Sister Cities parent organization will hold its annual international gathering here next year.
Malouff earlier this year accompanied city officials to Chicago, where the delegation presented a letter from Mayor Mark Funkhouser to an association of national consuls general that are headquartered there outlining Kansas Citys Pan American Initiative and inviting representatives to Kansas City for talks on expanded trade and other cooperative ventures.
For now, the flag project has center stage.
Malouff acknowledged Thursday that its timing might have been better given political tensions between the U.S. and several OAS members, Mexico and Venezuela in particular.
Governments have differences of opinions, but these things change over time, he said. We cant operate by the moment. We need to take the long-term view and celebrate international friendships and interdependence, he said.
Malouff said he had lobbied since the early 1990s for a flag-bedecked city street.
With the redevelopment of downtown, it just made sense to dress up the boulevard, he said. It has economic implications. It has educational implications. It has ambiance.
It is also expensive.
The City Council approved Malouffs street-renaming proposal earlier this year and also earmarked $60,000 toward startup and installation costs for the flags.
The name change is honorary, so businesses werent forced to make expensive address changes. Malouff lobbied many business owners along Grand and won their endorsement of the project, which the council approved with no controversy. Malouff said he owned no property that would be affected by the flag project.
Earlier this year new Grand Boulevard of the Americas street signs were installed between the River Market and Crown Center.
The flags installation is expected to be finished by the end of the month.
Under an agreement with the city and the Parks and Recreation Department, which oversees city boulevards, the nonprofit Downtown Council will act as flag project manager, tending to maintenance needs that Malouff hopes will be financed through an endowment fund supported by local firms.
The 30-inch by 6-foot national flags will appear in repeating sequences on both sides of Grand, occasionally interrupted by generic Grand Boulevard of the Americas banners.
Nearly half the light poles along the route will be equipped with double-banner hardware allowing the Kansas City Convention and Visitors Association and other groups such as the American Royal to continue displaying their banners during special events and to recognize visiting convention groups.
I knew a Malouf who was Lebanese.
I think that is a Lebanese Christian name..
My heart swells and flutters like those flags at the very sight. World peace. More like peace on us gringos. All the action’s here in the suburbs. Downtown KC is just an island you have to circumnavigate to get to anywhere that’s worth going.
Oh, pish! I'm sure the illustrious Mr. Malouff isn't demeaning our heritage, he is merely "active in local and regional organizations with international agendas."
I'd prefer a cow town any day over a metrosexual, cosmopolitan, globalist loving one worlder big city.
Locals still call it Sixth Avenue.
Don' wan no furriner flags cluttering our skyline. Especially you know who's.
I'm with you, Bob Mc. We every loss of those 'cow towns' we lose more of America.
Malouff is definitely Lebanese Christian name. James is a common Eastern Orthodox name. In honor of St James
This cow town Kansas City is on track for a direct rail link with the port of Lazaro Cardenas. Rail link is Kansas City Southern
ChiCom and other Asian ships will drop off cargo at Lazaro Cardenas
Thanks, hedgetrimmer! BTTT