Planting the seeds for a better neighborhood

Lykins.tif

Gardens. The Lykins Neighborhood Association is working to better the Lykins neighborhood with the help of community gardens and more community involvement. Joe Jarosz

 

By JOE JAROSZ
Northeast News
June 11, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Missouri – In the Lykins neighborhood, residents are working together to make the area a better place to live and call home.

One plant at a time.

Jason Fields, president of the Lykins Neighborhood Association, said he sort of fell into the role. Two years ago, while acting as vice president of the association, he said there was a good president and leader in place who had to step down because of health issues. Someone, he said, had to step up and take responsibility.

“It’s not my intention to be president forever,” Fields said. Part of what the association is currently doing is grooming young, neighborhood leaders to not only become more involved in the association, and neighborhood as a whole, but to also take over leadership roles in the future. “We would like to see leadership increase in the neighborhood.”

The main focus of Fields and the Lykins Neighborhood Association is beautification through clean-ups and neighborhood gardens. Along 12th Street and tucked in the neighborhood along Ninth Terrace, both between Norton and Cleveland Avenues, lie multiple community gardens. Fields said the gardens include solar panels for energy conservation, storm water collectors and endless beds of plants and vegetation.

“We’ve planted over 1,100 tulips along 12th Street,” Fields said, adding over 20 fruit trees have been planted in neighborhood gardens. One garden, located near the intersection of 12th Street and Norton Avenue, has around 45 plant beds. “Most of the beds are already planted, too.”

Along with budding community gardens, Fields said the association has several goals it wishes to achieve over the next year. First, they want to improve communications between the residents and the association. Around this time last year, the association didn’t have a website, phone number or email address.

“We maybe had the phone numbers to about 20 people,” Fields said. Now, they have all of that, including more signage throughout the neighborhood, improving the association’s visibility and reach.

Another goal the association has recently made headway on is relaunching the block watch captain program. The neighborhood watch will help the area push forward together, Fields said, on positive endeavors but also, anonymously, share with people you don’t know issues about the community. He also wants to start hosting more block parties and increase the amount of neighborhood programs as a way to get the residents out meeting one another. One program recently created by the association is an after school art program for area kids. Currently, the program host about 20 students.

“We’re not where we want to be [membership wise] but with the push of communications, we hope to have more resident involvement,” Fields said.

The boundaries for the Lykins Neighborhood Association include Benton Boulevard and I-70 to the west, Independence Avenue to the north, Truman Road and the railroad to the south and Hardesty Avenue to the east. The association meets at 7 p.m. on the third Monday of the month at Eleos Coffee, 3401 Independence Ave. For more information about the association or to get involved, visit http://lykinsneighborhood.com/, email LykinsKC@gmail.com or call 913-732-3588.

 

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