KC Parks News

  1. Tom Watson Golf Academy to Open with Ribbon Cutting Ceremony April 30 at Heart of America Golf Course

    TWGAThe Kansas City Parks Department and The First Tee of Greater Kansas City are hosting a dedication ceremony for the new Tom Watson Golf Academy, a program that provides golf-focused learning and mentorship for Kansas City area youth to help build a further love of the game. The event begins at 11:15 a.m. Saturday, April 30 at the Heart of America Golf Course, 7501 Blue River Road.

    Everyone is invited to the driving range in front of the clubhouse for the dedication and ribbon cutting at 11:15 a.m., and then Watson will conduct a free golf clinic for Kansas City youth after the ceremony starting at 11:30 a.m.

    The Tom Watson Golf Academy offers affordable lessons for kids working to improve their golf acumen. Each class is offered as a program of The First Tee of Greater Kansas City and are open to any 10 to 17-year-old golfer wanting to improve their game. Introductory lessons are provided through The First Tee Life Skills Experience classes.

    “We want to build the game by helping kids perfect their golf skills,” said Watson, a 39-time PGA Tour champion and World Golf Hall of Famer. “The Academy is a simple and affordable way to bring golf to the youth of Kansas City.”

    Mark McHenry, director of the Kansas City Parks Board, and Brigette Chirpich, executive director of The First Tee of Greater Kansas City, will conduct the dedication. Watson will speak about the efforts of The First Tee in Kansas City and announce the newest partnership between The First Tee and Kansas City Golf Association, the Youth on Course program.

    Youth on Course is a national program connecting golf courses and young golfers to provide lower fees and access to more golf courses.

    “Youth on Course provides an inexpensive opportunity for young Kansas City Golfers to play a multitude of courses,” said Watson. “This will open the door for kids to play new courses and to connect with other junior golfers outside of tournament settings.”

    About The First Tee of Greater Kansas City
    The First Tee of Greater Kansas City (www.thefirstteekc.org) is a Missouri Not for Profit Corporation. Our mission is to impact the lives of young people in the Greater Kansas City area by providing learning opportunities and educational programs that promote character development and life-enhancing values through the game of golf. The First Tee of Greater Kansas City serves 10,000 young people at six programming sites, over 30 local schools and through outreach programs. The First Tee of Greater Kansas also administers the Al Hoffman Scholarship Program. Currently, five alumni of the chapter are attending college with the financial assistance of this program. The Greater Kansas City Chapter is part of The First Tee Network of youth development organizations.

    About Kansas City Parks and Recreation
    Kansas City Parks and Recreation’s mission is to improve the quality of life, health and wellness of our community by providing socially equitable, community-driven programming and environmentally sound natural resource management.  We provide facilities, programs and recreational opportunities for the community that contribute to an aesthetically pleasing environment and enhanced quality of life. The department operates and maintains close to 12,000 acres of parkland including 220 parks, 135 miles of boulevards and parkways, 48 fountains, 87 ornamental structures, 10 community centers, 27 lakes, 100+ miles of trails and bikeways, 105 tennis courts, five golf courses and four museums. Visit www.kcparks.org to learn more.

    About the Kansas City Golf Association
    The Kansas City Golf Association (KCGA) is a full service regional golf association dedicated to the betterment of the amateur golf community of greater Kansas City. Founded in 1912, the Association is volunteer-based and governed as a non-profit 501(c)4 Missouri corporation. More than 60 volunteers (course raters and tournament committeemen) assist in course ratings, competitions and communications. For more information, visit www.kansascitygolfer.org.

  2. Kansas City and KCPS to celebrate investments in Central Park sports facilities

    The City of Kansas City and Kansas City Public Schools will celebrate their investments in upgrading the Central Park athletic facilities during an event starting 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, April 26 at the park. The celebration will take place on the track in the south side of the park along Linwood Blvd. Free on-street parking is available.

    At the celebration, City leaders will ceremonially hand-over a check representing a $400,000 investment of Public Improvement Advisory Committee (PIAC) 3rd District funds into the park’s athletic facilities. Central Academy of Excellence students will then present a ceremonial “thank you” card to the City’s representatives.

    KCPS is adding about $800,000 of its own money into the joint project, which began to take shape in the fall of 2015 after both City and KCPS officials recognized that there was an opportunity to use PIAC funds to improve the park. More than 300 Central Academy students signed a petition that helped the project earn a recommendation from the 3rd District committee and approval from the City Council. This is one of the largest investments in a single project that has ever been approved by a district-level PIAC in Kansas City, Mo.

    Central Academy students use the park athletic facilities thanks to a partnership between KCPS and the City’s Department of Parks and Recreation. The PIAC and KCPS funds will be used to install a new track and convert the existing field into a regulation-size football and soccer field with high-quality turf. It is anticipated that the Central Park athletic facility project will start around Jan. 1, 2017 and be completed by that summer.

  3. Mayor James, Royals, Major League Baseball Break Ground on $14 Million Kansas City MLB Urban Youth Academy at Parade Park

    gb2Today Mayor Sly James, Dayton Moore, General Manager of the Kansas City Royals, Tony Reagins, Major League Baseball (MLB) Senior Vice President of Youth Programs, Darrell Miller, Vice President of Youth & Facility Development, Royals players and other civic and community leaders broke ground on the Kansas City MLB Urban Youth Academy.

    Announced in September, the planned $14 million project will include an indoor training facility, three state-of-the-art baseball fields and one softball field to enhance the 18th and Vine District. Kansas City-based firms, Populous and JE Dunn, will serve as the lead architects and contractors for the project. Today’s groundbreaking officially begins the construction of Phase 1, which is scheduled to open in the Fall. The continued success of the Phase 2 fundraising campaign could potentially allow for the Academy to be fully operational by the summer of 2017.

    “As the father of a son who played baseball, I understand first-hand the ways that this game can give a young person a sense of direction. It can help them develop a strong work ethic while also learning what it means to be part of a team.” said Mayor Sly James. “As Mayor, I couldn’t ask for a better project to positively impact the lives of our City’s youth and help revitalize one of our City’s most historic districts.”

    The Kansas City MLB Urban Youth Academy’s initial goal will be to serve approximately 800-1,000 youth, ages 6-18, per year. In addition to providing free, year-round baseball and softball instruction, the Academy will provide youth access to educational and vocational programs.

    “The Kansas City Royals are deeply committed to growing the great game of baseball in our community and throughout the region,” Moore said. “The Kansas City Urban Youth Academy will provide special opportunities for boys and girls to develop their baseball and softball skills while, most importantly, growing as leaders.”

    This project will enhance Parade Park for neighbors and support the existing efforts of MLB to attract more youth to the game, particularly through the MLB Urban Youth Academy network. The Academy will partner with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City to help support the local Reviving Baseball in the Inner Cities (RBI) programs and youth baseball initiatives around the area.

    “Major League Baseball is proud of our role in bringing the Urban Youth Academy project to this point,” said Reagins. “We believe this facility will provide a safe haven for young people to grow as individuals and ballplayers, and will be a tremendous source of pride for the community.  We thank the Royals, Governor Nixon, Mayor James, the City of Kansas City and the MLBPA for their dedication and partnership in this effort.”

    The Kansas City MLB Urban Youth Academy is among nine Urban Youth Academies either in development or fully operational in the United States. The cities of Cincinnati (OH), Compton (CA), Houston (TX), New Orleans (LA), Philadelphia (PA) and Washington, D.C. all have operational Academies; while Kansas City is joined by Dallas (TX) and San Francisco (CA) as cities with Academies in development.  The Kansas City Royals, the Glass family and local charitable support will provide personnel and cover all of the Academy’s operating expenses including equipment, supplies and utilities.

    The Academy and park improvements will be developed in two phases:

    ●   Phase I includes three baseball fields; one softball field; a walking trail with views of the baseball and softball diamonds; relocated basketball courts; relocated and renovated tennis courts and a relocated playground near the community center.

    ●   Phase II includes the indoor training facility with a turf infield, batting cages, pitching mounds, restrooms and concession facilities for the diamonds; a Great Lawn that will serve as a front yard and shared event space for the Academy; and additional parking. Phase II is contingent upon the success completion of a fundraising campaign.

    Weather permitting, mobilization is scheduled to begin on site next week with the site clearing planned for May 11 and the mass excavation planned for May 16. The turf for the fields is planned to be installed mid-to-late July and the completion of Phase 1 is scheduled for early November.

    Funding for construction comes from the Major League Baseball Urban Youth Foundation; the Major League Baseball Players Association; the City of Kansas City capital improvements sales tax; the State of Missouri and private donations raised by the Academy’s Fundraising Committee.


  4. Show-Me State Games Shelter Insurance® Torch Run Coming to Kansas City

    torch run logoThe Show-Me State Games and Shelter Insurance® are hosting a Torch Lighting Ceremony and Run in Kansas City on Tuesday, April 19, in preparation for the 2016 Show-Me State Games. The event will begin at 1:30 p.m. at Mill Creek Park.

    The event will begin with a brief Torch Lighting Ceremony at 1:30 p.m., including speakers from the Show-Me State Games and Shelter Insurance, as well as Kansas City Parks & Recreation, who is an instrumental supporter of this event.  Kansas City residents will bring the torch through the Country Club Plaza.

    The Show-Me State Games is an annual Olympic-style sports festival offering more than 40 sports for Missourians of all ages and ability levels, taking place June 10-12, July 22-24 and July 29-31 in Columbia.   The torch will be traveling across Missouri during the months leading up to the GAMES .  The full schedule includes:  Hannibal on April 13, Kansas City and St. Joseph on April 19, Springfield on April 28, Joplin on April 29, Cape Girardeau and St. Louis on May 3, St. Charles on May 4 and Jefferson City and Columbia on July 22.

    Media interested in covering the event, please contact Emily Lorenz at 573-882-2105 or 314-808-6047.  For more information on the torch run or GAMES, you can visit www.smsg.org.

  5. KC Parks Received TRIM Grant

    Champion Tree 2The Forestry Operations Division of Kansas City Parks and Recreation received a Tree Resource Improvement and Maintenance (TRIM) grant from the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). TRIM grants assist Missouri communities with the management, improvement and/or conservation of their trees and forests.

    Kansas City was awarded a $1300 grant for forestry staff continuing education. The grant was used to send five staff members to the 70th  Annual Conference and Trade Show of the Midwest Chapter of the International Society of Arborist and to the annual conference of the Missouri Community Forestry Council.

    While at the conferences staff attended  a variety of educational seminars on topics such as urban tree root system management and care, soils, tree nutrition, urban wood utilization, and trees in municipal planning.

    TRIM is a competitive cost-share grant from MDC in cooperation with the Missouri Community Forest Council and U.S. Forest Service that provides up to $10,000 for community tree inventories, removal or pruning of trees, tree planting and educational programs.

  6. KC Parks Submits 2016 Gold Medal Award Application

    gold-medalKC Parks recently submitted its application for the National Recreation and Park Association’s Gold Medal Award. The Gold Medal Award honors communities throughout the United States that demonstrate excellence in long-range planning, resource management, and agency recognition. Each agency is judged on its ability to address the needs of those it serves through the collective energies of citizens, staff, and elected officials.

    A panel of five parks and recreation professionals reviews and judges all application materials.  Judges are chosen for their considerable experience and knowledge in parks and recreation on both local and national levels. KC Parks has never won the award but was one of four Class I finalists in 2011 and 2015.

    Read KC Parks 2016 Gold Medal Award Application>>

    Watch 2016 Gold Medal Video>>