Michael Bushnell

Northeast News


What do you get when you have an engaged neighborhood organization coupled with the pro bono energy of over 40 professional architects, designers, and community developers that spent Thursday on a walking tour of the Lykins Square Park area?

You get an Eco Abet Charrette that produced four concept designs that will be forged into a comprehensive plan for Lykins Square Park and the surrounding area.

Charrette is an adaptation of the French term denoting art students collectively working on their projects. It’s modernized meaning means stakeholders coming together to address challenges and map solutions, in this case Lykins Square Park.

Eco Abet is a ten-year-old nonprofit that brings together design resources from a variety of disciplines including architects, landscape architects, planners, and environmental conservationists, all working with the Lykins Neighborhood for the past year-and-a-half to develop a cohesive plan for the neighborhood with focus on the long-neglected Lykins Square Park area.

“Eco Abet has rallied the Kansas City design community to come together to solve some of the city’s toughest challenges,” said Christina Hoxie, one of the organizers of Thursday’s Charrette.

Over 24 organizations sent representatives who spent Thursday morning touring the Lykins neighborhood, identifying the various challenges that currently exist, as well as the assets available to the neighborhood in the Lykins Square Park area.

The afternoon hours were spent in the Urban Farming Guys Makers Space at 3700 E. 12th street where four teams developed concepts for presentation later in the afternoon.

Diana Graham, a long-time neighborhood resident was excited about the possibilities for future development.

“Seeing the energy in this room today is just inspiring,” she said. “They’re bringing ideas and concepts to the table that we’ve never realized were possible for the park. It’s terrific.”

Gregg Lombardi, interim executive director of the Lykins Neighborhood Association, was thrilled about Thursday’s event and looks forward to the implementation phase.

“This is really exciting to see the energy and the amount of architectural wisdom that was brought forward on Thursday,” Lombardi said. “There’s a really wonderful vibe that’s going on in the neighborhood these days.”

Eco Abet, over the next sixty to ninety days, will combine the ideas from the charrette and present the finalized package to the neighborhood organization for project prioritization, and ultimately, for presentation to the city for approval and implementation at the street level .

The neighborhood association will be seeking private funds as well as PIAC funding to support the changes in the park with the goal of groundbreaking in the spring of 2020.