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Kansas City businessman hoping to change Troost Avenue

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The man behind a historic name change in Kansas City is working on another.

For the past five years, Chris Goode has run Ruby Jean’s Juicery, what he calls the first health-focused restaurant on Kansas City’s East Side. It bears the name of Goode’s grandmother.

“We’re also here to change the narrative that areas like this can’t support healthy options, we just want fried chicken,” Goode said.

Goode hopes to make an impact outside of his business starting with the street directly across from him, Troost Avenue or as he calls it “Truth”.

Goode does his best to keep his block clean and became the first to formally adopt the bus stop at 31st Street and Troost Avenue.

He led an effort to clean up the historic Paseo steps in 2019, which resulted in a position on the Parks Board.

“What it turned into I could never have imagined,” Goode said.

He attended the 2020 protests at JC Nichols Fountain over the killing of George Floyd.

“I thought it was strange that this was our central gathering place for the protests, the celebrations. But it’s named after someone who really didn’t want to see us combine and bring together and integrate,” Goode said.

A year after successfully renaming the fountain and parkway, he reportedly stepped down from that board position after the director job did not go to the acting director, but instead to a white outsider.

“That same job I want to continue in this community just like Chris, a Kansas City kid who really cares about Kansas City.”

Which brings us back to the “Truth”.

“I’m working on renaming this old Kansas City Red Line from Troost that honors Benoit Troost, a well-known slave owner, to something universal. It’s an uphill battle.

Goode says he won’t give up the efforts of “Truth over Troost,” the giant mural outside the building says Truth is Freedom.

“The truth is it happened and the truth is we shouldn’t honor it,” she said.

Goode says whether it’s serving a healthy drink, picking up trash in poor areas, or working to change street names or landmarks, it’s about creating balance and a city that everyone can be proud of.

“I hope my son can walk Truth Avenue without the appearance or connotation of ‘don’t go there,'” she said.

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