Volunteers led by Indian Mound resident Brett Shoffner of Nomad Trails Development returned to Cliff Drive in Kessler Park this weekend to address the chronic illegal dumping and littering. They focused their efforts on the eastern end of the park near the Carl diCapo Fountain, along the trails east to Indian Mound and west to Gladstone Point.
The fountain is inactive, despite being named as one that the Kansas City Parks Department would turn on this season. Shoffner passes the fountain that he said hasn’t been on since 2019 a few times a week, and has noted the graffiti and litter.
Shoffner has been actively involved in maintaining and improving Cliff Drive for over a decade. Through Nomad Trails Development, he works on hiking and biking trails, dedicating hours to the ones practically in his backyard.
Jared Coleman, a KC Parks Ambassador, collected trash out of the murky basin at the bottom of the fountain that was named in honor of Parks Commissioner, restaurateur and volunteer Carl diCapo in 1989.
They had heard that Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II included $2.1 million for Cliff Drive Scenic Byway in a recent infrastructure package, but Shoffner said it won’t be enough after years of neglect.
“Two point one million dollars is nothing, unfortunately,” he said. “It’s a drop in the bucket. Two million dollars will barely get the tree trimming done that needs to be done on the drive to make it not look like a tunnel anymore, clear the cliffs off so you can actually see the cliffs on Cliff Drive.”
He thinks trimming back the overgrowth probably isn’t the first priority, rather repairs to the actual road that is falling off the cliff in more than one spot.
“It’s nice getting money in here from the feds, it needs a lot more,” Shoffner said.