Michael Bushnell

The Kansas City, Missouri Parks Board meeting on November 7th saw four brand new members seated and funding resolutions passed for two key Northeast projects.

Following the swearing in of new Board members Pat Contreras, DePrice Taylor, Tom Gorenc and Board President Beth Haden, the new members tackled the agenda.

After recently taking over management of the Northeast soccer fields at 9th and Van Brunt Blvd., the Parks Department made much needed repairs to the artificial turf after over a decade of heavy use. The fields, managed under a paid contract agreement with the Guadalupe Centers, were in such poor condition the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) disqualified the fields from use by high school teams. Parks Department Director Chris Cotton indicated that even after the repairs, the two turf fields did not meet MSHSAA standards for safe play.

Additionally, during the Spring of 2022, much to the outrage of local youth soccer clubs, the city diverted almost $1.3 million in funding, most of it slated for new turf at 9th and Van Brunt, spending it instead at the Bartle Hall Convention Center for new carpeting. 

Tuesday’s unanimous passing vote by the Parks Board dedicated roughly $675,000; $432,000 of which came from the Parks Department’s Special Gifts Fund, to installing new turf on the two primary fields by next spring’s soccer season, weather permitting. 

Another key funding vote also involved a deadline extension for the Independence and Paseo Boulevard intersection construction that has been a continual detour to Northeast motorists for almost two years.

After being plagued by utility placement delays that set the project back earlier this year by almost three months, Amino Brothers Construction, the excavation contractor working on site, is seeking an additional $193,000 in funding and an extension of the completion date to May 29th, 2024. That resolution also passed the board unanimously, allowing work to continue on the intersection. The western portion of the intersection, from The Paseo west on Independence Avenue opened earlier this fall. The May 29th completion date is barring any additional delays due to unforeseen obstacles or extended inclement weather.