How would you like to live downtown?” That was the question thrown my way as we considered life after living in the country for 20 years. To be truthful, living in any downtown area was far from my mind. Why in the world would I trade a large house surrounded by trees for maybe 500 square feet and surrounded by lots of people? That’s the picture I got.

Boy, was I wrong. Leavenworth has some really neat, spacious and quiet (well, you do have to get used to the trains) living spaces. I was amazed at the different locations, styles, varieties and sizes of apartments all available at what I consider reasonable rent. We missed the downtown loft tour sponsored by Main Street but they were helpful by directing us where to go and who to see.

The most obvious places to begin the search for downtown living is the imposing Planters II (Planters I was a hotel which no longer exists) and Cody Apartments. Each offer well managed, clean, comfortable living spaces but they are more high-rise than I wanted. Nearby, the Abernathy Lofts is a remodeled old factory but is still more of a high-rise. The Abernathy management team directed us to the intersection of Second and Choctaw streets where they also oversee the Stove Lofts, a collection of 1909 era factory buildings whose renovation preserved the character of early brick and large building timbers, visible inside and out, combined with large windows and high ceilings, to make an attractive, modern living space. We liked what we saw and moved in this past August.

So, in the space of six weeks I had become an advocate for living in downtown Leavenworth, and, wonder of wonders, a resident.

Our loft apartment has about 1,500 square feet overlooking the river and downtown. It is both comfortable and enjoyable. Good-bye yard work and snow shoveling. Hello more time for family and travel.

In addition to the 400-plus units in the four developments mentioned above, there are around 100 other apartments and lofts scattered throughout the downtown area, to include the Mann Lofts, Freight House Lofts, 25 office/business suites, six Air B&Bs and several above-business lofts under construction.

Another new and exciting possibility close to downtown, Station Lofts, located adjacent to the Centennial Bridge and the Missouri River, will have about 140 apartments when completed.

Jim McKinney is a resident of downtown Leavenworth.