By Dorri Partain
South of Independence Avenue and east of Hardesty Avenue lies the Sheffield neighborhood. In the shadow of industrial sites, a small residential community is bolstered by the Sheffield Neighborhood Association, which takes its name from the the now-shuttered Sheffield/ARMCO Steel plant that once offered employment to those living just blocks away.
Born and raised in the Sheffield neighborhood boundaries, association president Mark Morales has long been the face of the neighborhood, from overseeing the monthly meetings to coordinating volunteers for various projects.
A long-time project has been the patriotic mural under the railroad bridge at Ninth and Hardesty. This year, sunflowers will be added to the mural to pay tribute to the victims of the conflict in Ukraine.
Morales has applied for funding from the Rebuild KC grant fund with the hopes of cleaning up the trash and painting another mural at the Wilson Road bridge which Morales sees as a “community driven effort where all of the stakeholders will come together to make a difference in our community.”
Sheffield volunteers, partnering with Giving Grove, also maintain an orchard located at 10th and Newton where 15 apple and pear trees were planted a few years ago. Plans are to expand the orchard to a lot across the street, add a fence and artwork.
The association works closely with Sheffield Place, which provides transitional living for women and children. Additional homes, and the former Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church convent, in the neighborhood have been acquired and rehabilitated to provide permanent housing solutions with funding from Sheffield Place’s annual fundraising events.
The boundaries for the association are Independence Avenue to the north, Hardesty Avenue to the west, 12th Street to the south, and the Kansas City Southern rail tracks to the east.
The association holds monthly meetings on the fourth Monday at 7 p.m. at 1001 Bennington Ave. Association members also have access to the neighborhood’s tool-lending library. More information about upcoming meetings and events is posted on the association’s Facebook page by searching Official Sheffield Neighborhood Association – KCMO.