Cliff Drive Scenic Byway is still an historic gem for area residents

Posted November 7, 2012 at 12:00 am

By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
Northeast News
November 7, 2012 

postcard cliff Drive.tif

This historic postcard was published by the South West News Company of Kansas City, Mo., and shows what was then referred to as “Horse Shoe Bend” on beautiful Cliff Drive. The card was mailed to Miss Alice Bursley of New Orleans, La., on Jan. 23, 1907.

Cliff Drive has long been known for its natural beauty and rugged splendor – limestone bluffs overlooking the East Bottoms. In 2000, Cliff Drive, which was designed by early Parks Architect George E. Kessler, was designated as a state scenic byway. Two years later, it was rededicated in honor of the late Missouri Sen. Ronnie DePasco, who was a tireless advocate for his Historic Northeast constituents and a key figure in getting the 4.27-mile drive its original scenic byway designation, the third in Missouri and the first in an urban area.

Over the past seven years, Kansas City Parks and Recreation has been working to clear brush and trash, restore the roadway from landslides and improve drainage on the spring-fed hillside to prevent further washouts and loss of electrical infrastructure, in partnership with community groups and with funding from federal and state grants, as well as Public Improvement Advisory Committee (PIAC) funds.

An interpretive plan also calls for informational kiosks at either end and at the drive’s Scarritt Point entrance. This past Sunday, runners saturated Cliff Drive for the 27th Annual Cliff Hanger 5K/8K race. Sponsored by the Kansas City Track Club, the event is also an RRCA State Championship event. Slightly under 1,000 people participated.