A groundbreaking was held this morning at Independence Plaza Park where a new $1.2 million capital improvement infusion will bring upgrades to the park on both side of Independence Boulevard. The improvements, funded primarily by the $30 million Paseo Gateway Project and the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, include a futsal court, a walking trail, fencing and lighting enhancement, and a universally accessible playground for children, regardless of their degree of mobility.

Pendleton Heights Neighborhood Association President Chris Binkley was excited about the programming opportunities at the park space.

“I’m excited to see some of the improvements coming to the park because we were able to work with Arts Block residents and leadership at Scuola Vita Nuova,” Binkley said. “The residents here want to be empowered, so kind of warding off some of the bad activity that we would get every once in a while with some capital improvements,  I’m excited by taking it in the other direction.”

In addition to the City and the Parks Department, community stakeholders included Brinshore Development, The Northeast Chamber of Commerce, the Independence Avenue CID, the Pendleton Heights and Independence Plaza Neighborhoods were on site to celebrate. Today’s groundbreaking is the culmination of over two years of meeting and planning.

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas was was excited about the partnerships that made the park improvements possible.

“I’m particularly excited to work with some of our school partners and others who are making sure that our young people can see something different in these parks,” Lucas noted. “While we still have our challenges we want to make sure that these parks are known to be spaces for children, for families and for our community. It’s not a space for bad actors. It’s a space where Kansas City ants can come together.”

Other planned improvements include storefront facade upgrades, infrastructure improvements along the 8th Street and Woodland Avenue corridor and a new Samuel Rodgers Healthy Living campus.