By Corbin Smith, Editorial Assistant
Kansas City residents were invited to a community meeting on June 16 to discuss possible improvements to Eighth Street and Woodland Avenue at the Samuel Rodgers Health Center.
The City of Kansas City, Mo., partnered with CFS Engineers to present ideas for community members to express their opinions on and gauge what improvements are needed. The improvement proposals were specific for Eighth Street from Paseo to Woodland Avenue and Woodland from Ninth Street to Independence Avenue.
Poster boards with civil engineering upgrades lined the Wayne Miner Community Room, providing attendees information on why the meeting was being held and what ideas had been brainstormed. Many of the boards prompted guests to vote on what ideas they liked best.
The introduction board explained that the meeting was to equitably engage the community in meaningful and descriptive conversations. The City’s plan is to revitalize the streetscape to best position the neighborhood to become a thriving and desirable place to live and conduct business.
The data collection tables held colored stickers for residents to place in boxes labeled, “Agree,” “Disagree,” or “No Opinion.” Beside the boxes were a list of statements relating to safety improvements to streets and sidewalks.
The information on these tables explained that traffic signals are difficult to see on East Eighth Street, as well as Woodland Avenue, and there’s a lack of pedestrian activity because walking infrastructure feels unsafe. The tables also included different community identifiers that bring people through the area regularly such as public transit, Woodland Elementary School, Kansas City University and more.
Next, attendees were directed to three boards hosting separate themes the City wanted to pursue in hopes of following an aesthetically pleasing model while also meeting practical needs. Attendees were encouraged to vote on their favorite themes or pick different aspects of each theme that would work well together.
The themed improvements focused on how walkways would be designed, whether there would be artistic landmarks or not, and other trafficway improvements.
One of the final stops requesting community input asked for attendees to pick the three most important principles in improving the area. Here, people could vote for options to improve sociability, appearance, security or comfortability in terms of public transportation amenities.
From this meeting, residents’ comments and thoughts will be evaluated to decide which projects will take place. Within the next couple of months, a public meeting will be held to gain more feedback from the community and finalize details before starting construction.
Although this meeting was the first in a series of brainstorming events, the City plans on beginning construction to the aforementioned streets in 2022.