Jason Nivens and family at Kauffman Stadium for a Kansas City Royals Dressed to the Nines game.

Jason Nivens and family at Kauffman Stadium for a Kansas City Royals Dressed to the Nines game.

Jason Nivens has spent the last decade living in various parts of downtown Kansas City.  From his current home on the top of the hill in the West Side, to the Crossroads, Columbus Park and Westport, he’s chosen urban living after being raised in the Kansas suburbs.  Most of his time is spent in the city for work, entertainment and taking his step-daughter to school at the Crossroads Academy.  Here are a few tips from a downtown pro!

1. You lived in suburbia before transferring to a few other states.  What made you choose downtown when you returned in 2004?

After living in downtown Dallas, Midtown Atlanta and for a spell being homeless in Houston (a story for a different blog) I knew that when I moved back to KC I needed to be in the city. There's just something special about being able to walk out to the market, a show, a pub for a beer or a laid back coffee shop which I don't feel exist when you have to "jump in the car" to go somewhere in suburbia. Especially the further out you get in the burbs. I relied on mass transit in those other cities and I wanted to utilize the same in KC, which we do. 

2. After living in several neighborhoods in the downtown area from Columbus Park to Westport, what are your top 5 favorite things about urban living?

  1. Walkability 
  2. The (human) characters
  3. Architecture 
  4. No where near as milquetoast as the burbs
  5. The city lights at night

3. As an avid user of mass transit, what is the best advice you can give a newbie?

Buy a monthly bus pass. Try it out, test which routes & buses will work best for you. Wear headphones and keep a book close, helps keep some of those characters from chatting with you if you don't feel like it. And because we're still improving our mass transit, download the Uber app. It'll come in handy if there's a bus set back. 

4. Enrollment is going on now for the Crossroads Academy.  How long has your step-daughter been a student?  What do you see as the greatest benefit in attending the Crossroads Academy?

Our little bug's been at Crossroads for 2 years now. The greatest benefit is being involved with life in the city. Seeing all the different people who live and work downtown. Meeting people of different races & creeds and understanding we're all in this together so let's work together. 

5. We know downtown Kansas City has changed a lot since 2004, but for someone considering moving here, what would advice or words of wisdom would you provide?

As the late Hunter S. Thompson said, "Buy the ticket, take the ride." You don't know what you don't know and I know everyone of my friends I've made that have moved here from either coast are always impressed with our downtown. The people, the energy, the vibe, and the fun we're having. Not to say you can't have fun in the burbs but we're having way more fun down here! ;)