Budd Park, Kansas City’s second oldest park, is getting sidewalk improvements along Brighton Avenue and trail improvements inside this Historic Northeast park.
The improvements will be funded by Fourth District Council Public Improvements Advisory Committee (PIAC) funds.
On Wednesday, August 24, neighbors, park department employees and others gathered in the park to break ground on the project, which will be designed and built by Gunter Construction Company.
Budd Park is a 26 acre park in the Indian Mound neighborhood. In recent years, the park has seen a variety of improvements because of community advocacy. In the Spring of 2022, new sidewalks were completed along the south side of the park and the trail was replaced east of the swimming pool. In the Fall of 2021 two shelter pads were added, one at the pool and one at the north playground. In the Summer of 2021, a new mini pitch was added at the existing tennis courts.
Scott Wagner, Board of Parks and Recreation commissioner and former Indian Mound Neighborhood Association president, shared the latest project details.
“This is another great day here in the Indian Mound neighborhood and in Northeast, and particularly here in Budd Park,” Wagner said. “Many years ago, I was the neighborhood president for this neighborhood and spent a lot of time in this park. Going back to those years, knowing some of the things that we did as far as getting city funding to do new playgrounds, which I think was one of the last things I did before I joined the city council back in 2011, to see that that investment is still going on today and the neighborhood is still advocating for this park today is very gratifying.”
Wagner said it’s not an insignificant investment. The upcoming round of improvements will include a sidewalk along Brighton Avenue from Budd Park Esplanade to St. John Avenue, approximately 890 linear feet by five feet wide; a connecting trail approximately 70 linear feet long from Brighton Avenue to the loop trail inside the park; and 1,500 linear feet of 7 foot wide concrete loop trail inside the park to replace the existing asphalt trail. Work will begin at the pool and continue 1,500 feet to the west and north.
“Each year, the City Council, you know, they have to make the tough decisions about how to spend the PIAC dollars, and what Fourth District representatives Christina Hoxie and Jim Wanser do, they break it all down for the council members, Katheryn Shields and Eric Bunch, and they make the decisions on how to spend that money,” said Scott Overbay, project manager from the City’s Park Department. “Well, in recent years, Katheryn Shields and Eric Bunch have given $518,000 to Budd Park, and we thank them for that support and their dedicated service to this community.”
After the PIAC funding was in place, Parks staff decided the scope of the project, which was then approved by Park Director Chris Cotten and the Park Board, then staff could go out and hire contractors to complete the projects.
“What an exciting time for Budd Park,” said Manny Abarca, past Indian Mound Neighborhood Association president and Kansas City Public Schools board member. “We’ve got a lot of work here in the park that we can do, that we will do, and I know that there’s some intentionality here to focus on preservation, the renovation of the park and rededication of some very important things.”
Abarca said the neighborhood association has invested a lot of time and energy in this park to make sure it is a true fixture of our community and will be for the next 100 years, at least.
Budd Park was named for Judge Azariah Budd, who moved to Kansas City with his wife, Sarah Ann, in 1879 after working several years in law. He acquired 40 acres of land and spent his time clearing and cultivating it, as well as raising cattle.
Budd passed away in 1889 and willed 20 acres of his property to the City, if they paid his widow $3,000 annually until her death. The City accepted the property in 1891 and transformed it into Kansas City’s second park, the first being West Prospect Triangle, now known as Andrew Drips Park.
Sarah Ann Budd donated four additional acres to the park 10 years later, and the City acquired two more after that. In 1896, John and Adriance Van Brunt designed a distinctive frame shelter building near the center of the park. Following this construction, trees, maintenance buildings and steps were added to the park. A children’s play area, tennis courts, roque courts and a wading pool and a swimming basin were later added.
The frame shelter building was torn down and a native stone one was built in 1927, designed by Edward Buehler Delk. Today, the park emphasizes an open area with a lack of formal design to provide a place for people to relax.