Port Authority has big plans for Berkley Park

By JOE JAROSZ
Northeast News
March 26, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Missouri – The Port Authority Board of Commissioners, staff and the various consultants it’s working with are excited at the possibilities to come to the Berkley Riverfront Park.

That was the message Wednesday night at a community meeting, highlighting block layouts, urban design considerations, state of the art storm water planning, utility provisions, transportation, and Richard L. Berkley Park considerations.

The Port Authority is preparing to apply for a Master Planned Development (MPD) zoning overlay for the Berkley Riverfront Development. Part of the preparation is to present the direction, intent, and purpose of the MPD process to the surrounding community. This allows the Port Authority to market riverfront development opportunities with more certainty and clarity, as the next step to vertical development on the City’s only waterfront gateway to Downtown. Wednesday night’s meeting was held to gauge the communities reaction and get feedback on what residents in the surrounding area want in a riverfront setting.

Joe Perry, vice president of real estate for the board of commissioners, said many are familiar with various riverfront designs that have come to pass over the last 20 years. He told the 30 community members in attendance the master plan for the riverfront is mixed-use development for retail, office space and apartments. He said the ball is rolling now because the Port Authority has been allowed to own the land and sell it to individual developers.

“So having a block plan now is very important,” Perry said. “We want to develop a unified park plan that protects and enhances existing investments [along the riverfront].”

In September 2007, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources issued a “no further action” letter declaring the remediation complete and site suitable for redevelopment. Perry said this declaration was key in allowing the Port Authority to begin the steps to begin development along the riverfront.

“We’ll work with the city and the developers for an arrangement we all agree on,” Perry said.

The consultants at the meeting said they looked at cities with riverfronts similar to Kansas City such as Denver, Portland and Memphis for an idea of what could be constructed. Tim Duggan, one of the consultants, said the goal is to improve the amenities already available in Berkley Park and that will happen with an open dialogue with community members. The consulting teams are still developing a master plan for the city. With all the plans being submitted, the consultants said they are topping the buildings off at around 10 stories.

“We want there to be an opportunity for amenities to be available you can’t get downtown or anywhere else in the area,” Brad Satterwhite, another consultant, said.

Area resident Mike Fredholm attended the meeting Wednesday night and said the riverfront is a beautiful asset to the community that’s been overlooked for years. He’s glad to see something beginning to take shape along the Missouri River.

“It’ll be interesting to be a part of,” Fredholm said.

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