Vewiser Dixon leans forward behind his wide wooden desk and waxes on about his neighborhood. Dixon has lived in this corner of Kansas City his whole life; it was once and perhaps remains the beating heart of African-American life here—18th and Vine, made famous by Charlie Parker, Count Basie, and that set. Dixon now owns property along the rough-strewn blocks around the jazz district, and he has a vision.
“It was our mecca for black business, you know?” he says. “That’s my dream—to restore that in the 21st century.”