Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bannister Mall Handprints Ceremony

30 years ago, a bunch of kids went to the new Bannister Mall. They put their handprints and initials into a pair of long skinny concrete slabs. April 4th, some of those kids came back. They are now parents and grandparents. They wanted to see their handprints before the mall was completely torn down. The developers set a day for people to come see those handprints. As the day got closer, the demolition crew had made too much progress and the developers had to slow down and finally stop the demo for a day. Otherwise the slabs would be destroyed too soon.


Originally, the developers had wanted to save those slabs but they were being told that it would be impossible. The slabs are too old, too skinny and not reinforced. That did not stop the developers though; they consulted more experts and found a way to save those handprints. It would be difficult and they would not be able to save every handprint, but it was welcome news nonetheless.

Some of the hundred or so people looking for their handprints...

So when those former kids came to the mall, it was not to see the handprints for the last time. It was to make a connection from the past to the present, from the old to the new. They found their handprints and their initials; they showed them to their kids and grandkids. They took photos, they reminisced and they put flowers next to their memories. Little kids were amazed that the old people had once been that small. They talked with the developer that was on hand (Tim Weaver from Lane 4), they talked to representatives of the Wizards and they saw the basic plans for the new Three Trails development.

Tim Weaver showing the plans for The Trails...

A close up look at the future home of the Kansas City Wizards. NOT the final design ...

Best of all, they heard how the plan had changed from destroying those concrete memories to reusing the handprints in the new development. It has not been decided how exactly those slabs will be reused, but it is pretty certain they will be used in the soccer fields complex. This is a spot that thousands of kids each year will see them. I am hopeful that they will have another ceremony when they build those fields. I hope that they will put those slabs in and allow a new generation of kids to put their names and handprints in concrete. It would allow those new kids to connect the past to the future.

Four days after the event, those slabs were already up and on pallets. The pallets will be stored in one of the building that is not scheduled for demo right away.

Go to the Handprint Ceremony gallery for more images.

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