How many businesses do you think have a Waldo address? Chelsea Kapka, Executive Director of the Waldo Area Business Association, has heard over 600 businesses call Waldo home…and about 350 of them belong to WABA. Since joining WABA last month, she’s hoping to increase membership along with some other goals for the strong, thriving neighborhood.
I stopped in WABA at 7222 Wornall recently to have a chat with Chelsea. Originally from southwest Missouri, she went to MIZZOU for her undergrad degree and completed a masters at MO State. She’s spent the last several years in nursing home administration, most recently in Olathe. Although Chelsea enjoyed working with seniors, she decided she wanted a change in her career, and applied for the WABA job. She’s lived in Waldo for the past several years, with a sister and brother also living nearby.
Chelsea talked about other goals she has for WABA: she’s planning a bingo game on Wednesdays at Waldo Pizza that should start soon, and wants to increase community events. Besides the popular Waldo Fall Festival, she is promoting the second annual Spring Fling happening May 6, at Gregory and Wornall. She hopes to get more businesses to participate, including more local makers. The monthly Waldo business luncheons are open to anyone; details on dates are on the WABA website. The next luncheon is Wednesday March 1 at HJ’s Community Center, featuring sixth district candidates up for election. “I really like the WABA Mission Statement—it’s important for me to maintain Waldo as a vibrant and inclusive area. Waldo feels like its own city within Kansas City—so unique and eclectic”.
Chelsea and I talked briefly about the houseless issue in Waldo and how it can be addressed. She recently met with Josh Henges, the “homeless prevention coordinator” for Kansas City MO, who has a lot of ground to cover. The Waldo CID (Community Improvement District) handles security, graffiti and trash removal, marketing, plus landscape maintenance for the neighborhood. CID Community Awareness Officers are a daily presence that will report to police any necessary information regarding the houseless population but do not get directly involved.
In her free time, Chelsea spends time with her scientist husband and their three dogs; she enjoys reading and going to live music shows, especially at the Madrid Theater. You are welcome to stop by and introduce yourself to Chelsea, especially if you have a business in Waldo. The WABA is located at 7222 Wornall. And feel free to come to one of the monthly luncheons to keep in touch with what’s happening in Waldo!