By JOE JAROSZ
May 7, 2014
Editor’s note: The following piece is the first in a series of interviews and articles about neighborhood associations in the Northeast.
KANSAS CITY, Missouri – Improving the quality of life.
That’s the mindset of the Scarritt Renaissance Neighborhood Association.
Leslie Caplan, president of the Scarritt Renaissance Neighborhood Association, said the organization is active with continually improving the quality of life for the residents in the Scarritt Neighborhood in northeast Kansas City. The boundaries for Scarritt include from Jackson to the Lexington Bridge, zip codes 64123 and 64124, between Cliff Drive and Independence Boulevard on the north and south and between Chestnut Trafficway and Jackson Avenue on the east and west.
By improving the quality of life, Caplan said the association addresses crime, code violations with housing and absentee landlords that don’t maintain their properties. On a lighter side, the association has recently been raising money for a new playground slide and playground equipment in Concourse Park.
“We’re also trying to get people to meet their neighbors, interact with them and watch over one another in a way that maintains the neighborhood everyone would be proud of.” Caplan said.
Most recently, the association has been focusing its efforts on the park improvements at Concourse Park. Caplan said she was especially proud of meeting, and exceeding, the crowd funding goal the association had of $20,000. \
On May 1, members of the association met with the firm which will design the slide and garden area for the playground.
“In the next couple months, we’ll have design drawings we’ll take to Parks and Recreation for their approval,” Caplan said. “If everything goes according to schedule, then we’ll begin construction of the slide in August.”
Caplan was also proud of the the recent Easter egg hunt held in Concourse Park. The event drew-in around 300 people searching for over 5,000 eggs.
“It was just a lot of fun,” Caplan said.
Some additional goals and events that Caplan would like to see come to fruition include a Fourth of July event, upcoming block parties and a police roll call where residents will have the opportunity to meet the officers who patrol the Scarritt Neighborhood.
Caplan, who became president of the association three years ago, said she decided to run because she saw needs that were not being met and decided to take the required responsibility to make changes.
“Anybody who lives in a neighborhood has a responsibility to preserve their home, but also to preserve the whole neighborhood so it’s there for future generations,” Caplan said.
If you’d like to get involved or learn more about the Scarritt Renaissance Neighborhood Association, visit www.scarrittkc.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The association meets the first Monday of every month at 6:30 p.m. at the Kansas City Museum.
“I’d be happy to get anyone more involved,” Caplan said. “We are all part of a bigger community, the Northeast, so we need to work together to make things happen in the community.”