KCMO Parks shares plans for Independence Plaza Park renovation

Abby Hoover
Managing Editor


Independence Plaza Park, on Independence Avenue between Brooklyn and Park Avenue, will soon undergo a nearly $1 million renovation.


Project Manager Jordan Cline, landscape architect with the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Planning and Design Division, said planners hope to begin construction early this fall.


They are working with the finance department, the human relations department and contract administration to make sure they have everything they need before they bid out the project, Cline said.


In conversations with the neighborhood and stakeholder group, there was a push to make the area more usable.


“It’s almost a passive park, at this point,” Cline said. “People kind of just look in there, as opposed to actually using it.”


Removal of two fountains in the south section of the park will bring Kansas City’s public fountain count down to 46. When installed, the three-tiered, identical fountains were circled by bricks with sidewalks criss-crossing through the symmetrical park; however, one fountain was previously destroyed.


“The way that I believe the pump works, the way that the electrical works, everything, I think they both have to be operational for that to take place, so we’re just going to take them out,” Cline said.


According to designs, the plan is to replace one fountain on the south side of the park with a 30 by 50 foot high-roofed pavilion with a concrete pad.
“It’s going to be rather large so it can house farmers’ markets or performances, et cetera, whatever neighborhood summer events they would like to have out there,” Cline said. “We’re going to make the foundation that it’s on a little wider than the shelter itself so that way food trucks can have a stable bit of ground to sit on.”


The other fountain will be replaced with an art installation, which Cline said is a good use of the space for all of the emerging artists in the neighborhood.


The 1.73-acre park, which is divided by Independence Boulevard, was significant in the early development of Kansas City’s park system.
Landscape architect George Kessler praised the park in the 1909 Park Board report.


“Independence Plaza Park is one of Kansas City’s park object lessons most impressive to strangers,” Kessler said in the report. “It shows what a small area carefully and intelligently improved will do for a surrounding neighborhood. Two half-blocks, on opposite sides of the boulevard, transformed into a park, with trees, shrubbery, walks and seats, have had a redeeming and elevating influence on that section of the city.”


In recent years however, the park has become a “hotspot for illegal activity,” Chase Johnson, development specialist for the city, told the Northeast News in November.


On the north side of the park, the playground will be replaced. A walking trail will also be created around the perimeter of the playground.
The new playground is designed in a way that nothing can be hidden from view. The see-through concept will provide an added level of visibility and safety.


Cline said the park will be made “more inviting” by removing some of the fences and replacing other sections with lower fences, leaving the corners open to allow for more exit and entry points.


“That’s going to be for safety purposes to have better visibility into the park,” Cline said. “Especially on the south side, there’s only one entry and exit there. If you were in there just enjoying the park by yourself, you don’t really have a way out if somebody blocks that exit.”


All improvements and renovations will be subject to an approval process that includes requirements for implementing Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) aspects.


CPTED is a multi-disciplinary approach to crime prevention that uses urban and architectural design and the management of built and natural environments to create safer neighborhoods.


Qualifying renovations include lowering the fence, increasing lighting, improving pedestrian walkways, removing large shrubs, updating landscaping and getting more people to utilize the park.


According to the organization, strategies aim to reduce victimization, deter offender decisions that precede criminal acts, and build a sense of community among residents so they can gain control of areas, reduce crime and minimize fear of crime.


The park is surrounded by two replacement housing sites on the north side, as well as Scuola Vita Nuova Charter School.


“Though central to the housing plan, the park is currently underutilized and is a crime hotspot in the neighborhood due to the proximity of a neighboring liquor store,” according to a project description. “The City will continue to own and maintain improvements made to Independence Plaza Park.”


Improvements to the park will be environmentally friendly, like upgrading existing lighting elements to LED and reducing water waste by removing the fountains, Cline said.


The renovations are part of the Choice Neighborhood Initiative for the Paseo Gateway Project.


In January 2016, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) executed a five-year, $30 million Choice Neighborhoods Implementation (CNI) grant for the Paseo Gateway project site.


The grant included support for revitalizing Pendleton Heights and portions of the Paseo West and Independence Plaza neighborhoods, known collectively as the Paseo Gateway.


The Choice Neighborhood project focuses on three core aspects: housing, people, and neighborhood.


Nearly 70% of the funds went toward replacing distressed public and assisted housing with high-quality, mixed-income housing.


In December 2019, the city announced the completion of Phase 3 of the initiative, Pendleton ArtsBlock, a 38-unit mixed-income development.
Approximately $3.5 million was allocated to fund the neighborhood portion of the project, which includes the park’s renovations.


The renovations will be funded in part by $800,000 from the HUD grant, which requires a local match from the Department of Parks and Recreation in the amount of $135,000.


On June 9, the Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners passed a resolution for that amount at the recommendation of Senior Planner Richard Allen.

Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
Enter your email address and click on the Get Instant Access button.
We respect your privacy

Comments are closed.

  • Mother charged in death of one child, neglect of another in Northeast residence

    19 hours ago
    by

    A Kansas City woman, Adair Fish, 43, has been charged in connection with the death of one child and the […]


    Crews extinguish house fire at Prospect and Smart

    November 30th, 2022
    by

    Around 10:40 a.m. Wednesday, Kansas City Fire Department (KCFD) crews responded to a fire at a single family home on […]


    Northeast “shops small” on the Avenue

    November 30th, 2022
    by

    Abby Hoover Managing Editor Northeast Kansas City’s shoppers headed to the International Marketplace on Independence Avenue this past Saturday to […]


    The Fairy Princess returns to the Kansas City Museum

    November 30th, 2022
    by

    Abby Hoover Managing Editor The Kansas City Museum proudly announced that this year’s Fairy Princess event will be held in […]


    Latinx Education Collaborative / Revolución Educativa

    November 30th, 2022
    by

    Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your inbox each week? Subscribe below! Enter your email address and click on […]


    Thank You & What’s Next!

    November 30th, 2022
    by

    Sponsored content On October 21, 2021, the Kansas City Museum reopened the restored and renovated Corinthian Hall. The last thirteen […]


    PH Coffee’s Northeast Pole pop-up opens December 8

    November 30th, 2022
    by

    Abby Hoover Managing Editor After another successful Halloween pop-up featuring live entertainment and craft cocktails, the coffee shop at 2200 […]


    PORCH PIRATES BEWARE!

    November 23rd, 2022
    by

    Four East Zone officers responded to a stolen vehicle call last week, but when they arrived, they located the vehicle, […]


    Support your local Museum!

    November 23rd, 2022
    by

    During this holiday season the Kansas City Museum is offering a free buffalo plaid blanket with any purchase made over […]


  • RideKC Bikes hub installed on Independence Avenue

    November 23rd, 2022
    by

    Abby Hoover Managing Editor RideKC Bikes installed its first Northeast hub earlier this month at Independence and Woodland avenues through […]


    Classified

    November 23rd, 2022
    by

    101 Contractors & Builders MARK’S REMODELING ROOFING, SIDING, DOORS WINDOWS, PLUMBING SHEETROCK, ELECTRICAL NO JOB TOO SMALL 816-537-3193 104 Moving […]


    Neighborhood Boy Scout troop leader is nearing retirement

    November 23rd, 2022
    by

    Bryan Stalder Contributor “You know what they call polite people at a buffet? Hungry.” Anyone who has been to a […]


    Samuel U Rodgers hosts “Friendsgiving”

    November 23rd, 2022
    by

    Abby Hoover Managing Editor Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center hosted Friendsgiving at two of its Kansas City locations on Wednesday, […]


    Northeast community members push back against proposed school closures

    November 23rd, 2022
    by

    Abby Hoover Managing Editor Northeast community members showed up in force to last week’s bi-monthly Kansas City Public Schools’ (KCPS) […]


    Rockhurst University students get experience teaching at Holy Cross School

    November 23rd, 2022
    by

    Abby Hoover Managing Editor Rockhurst University elementary education students are gaining teaching experience as they work with Holy Cross Catholic […]


    Publisher’s Perspective

    November 23rd, 2022
    by

    Welcome to the November 23, 2022, edition of Kansas City’s Northeast News. This issue is somewhat of a milestone for […]


    Fire at Gabriel Apartments, 4 injured

    November 21st, 2022
    by

    The Kansas City Fire Department (KCFD) extinguished a fire at the Gabriel Apartment building at 531 Gladstone Boulevard on Monday […]


    Northeast residents mount formal opposition protest against school closures

    November 16th, 2022
    by

    Parents, teachers and Lykins Neighborhood residents have just left Whittier Elementary School on a school bus, bound for tonight’s KCPS […]


  • Northeast Newscast


  • Remember This?

    Remember This?

    November 30th, 2022
    by

  • Want articles sent directly to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
    We respect your privacy and will not distribute your information.