KC Parks News | Kanas City Parks & Recreation Department

KC Parks News


    Citizens of Kansas City, Missouri will play a vital role in restoring our declining urban forests, thanks to a new partnership between Heartland Tree Alliance (HTA), a program of environmental non-profit Bridging The Gap, and Kansas City Missouri Parks and Recreation.   HTA and Parks and Recreation will plant more than 1,300 trees in KCMO this fall and next spring, primarily with volunteer labor provided by Kansas Citians.

    “We’re excited to work with Bridging The Gap’s Heartland Tree Alliance because they educate citizens about the importance of trees and get them involved in tree care,” said Kansas City Parks and Recreation Deputy Director Terry Rynard.  “Because they use volunteers to plant and water, we can get more trees planted for the same budget.  We’re proud that the citizens of Kansas City will play a vital role in restoring our tree canopy.”

    Sarah Crowder, forester for Heartland Tree Alliance, adds, “Trees provide so many benefits to our city–shading our streetscapes, cleaning our air and cooling pavement and air temperatures.”  Studies have shown that heavily “treed” neighborhoods have less crime because more people are outside; trees also slow traffic and add up to 20% to property values.

    Thousands of trees are lost annually to disease, storm damage and old age in KCMO. With KCMO Parks and HTA working together, three new planting initiatives will invite citizens to help restore Kansas City’s urban forest canopy:

    500 shade trees in public right of ways: HTA neighborhood coordinators will be scouting for planting locations that meet space requirements for 500 new shade trees, and neighborhood groups willing to help. Tree planting events will be held in neighborhoods, with education on tree planting and care; local residents will be asked to “adopt” a tree, by providing supplemental water over the next two years.

    Local Boy Scouts will plant 3,750 small tree seedlings along stream corridors, where trees improve water quality and stabilize stream banks, preventing erosion.  Participating Scouts will learn about the role of forests and earn forestry badges.

    Several small arboretums featuring dozens of tree species will be planted in Kansas City parks, educating those looking to plant trees on their own property.

    If you would like to see more trees planted in your community, including 17 cities in the greater metro area, donate to the Heartland Tree Alliance Tree Fund at www.treesformycity.com. Once a city’s fund reaches $1,000 HTA organizes a tree planting workday in that city.

    To find out more information about Heartland Tree Alliance, suggest a tree planting location or to volunteer, contact Sarah Crowder, sarah.crowder@bridgingthegap.org.


    Starlight Theatre audiences will be drawn into the ritz and allure of classic Las Vegas with a swingin’ party of a show next month. The Rat Pack is Back!, a tribute to the talented stars of the 1960s known as The Rat Pack, takes the stage for three performances the weekend of Sept. 9-11. The show is the finale of Starlight’s 2016 Broadway season.

    The Rat Pack is Back! transports audiences back through time and space to a balmy night circa 1960 when three show business legends – Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Dean Martin – converged at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas for the very first time. These stars delivered style with substance, swing with swagger and a non-stop party to which everyone wanted access.

    “We want Kansas City audiences to enjoy a September night under the stars with the songs that all generations know and love,” Starlight president and CEO Rich Baker said. “I predict this show will stir up great memories for some and make new, special memories for everyone else!”

    The national touring production of The Rat Pack is Back! unites three highly accomplished singer/actors: Drew Anthony appears as Dean Martin; Kyle Diamond appears as Sammy Davis, Jr.; and Chris Jason, the trio’s newest cast member, appears as Frank Sinatra.

    The show’s uncanny vocal re-creation of one of the Rat Pack’s raucous, antic-filled performances is paired with unbridled humor. A live 12-piece orchestra is onstage throughout, bringing to life crowd-favorites with period-perfect orchestrations. The hits include Sinatra’s “You Make Me Feel So Young” and “A Foggy Day,” Martin’s “That’s Amoré,” Davis’ “Mr. Bojangles,” and many more. The Las Vegas Sun raves “This is as close as anyone has come to capturing the feeling of the real thing!”

    The Rat Pack is Back! is produced by Dick Feeney whose credits include Viva Las Vegas, Showgirls and The Great Gleason.

    Tickets for The Rat Pack is Back! at Starlight Theatre are on sale now for $14 to $120. Tickets are available online at www.kcstarlight.com, by calling 816.363.STAR (7827) or at the Starlight ticket office at 4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City, MO 64132.

    Discount prices for groups of 15 or more are available by contacting group sales coordinator Staci Shelman at 816.997.1137 or groups@kcstarlight.com.

    About Starlight Theatre
    Starlight Theatre, a recent winner of the Venue Excellence Award from the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM), is the largest and oldest performing arts organization in Kansas City and the second-largest outdoor producing theatre in the country. Opened as a theater in 1950 and as a not-for-profit organization in 1951, Starlight presents and produces Broadway musicals and concerts. It also offers extensive community outreach and educational programming, including classes, scholarships and Starlight’s Blue Star Awards, one of the largest high school musical theatre award programs in the nation.

    Located on 16 acres in Swope Park, Starlight’s venue includes rehearsal halls, gift store, club area for dining, concessions, gardens, fountains and a 10-story, climate-controlled stage. For more information, visit www.kcstarlight.com.

  3. Brush Creek Art Walk 2016: September 16, 17 and 18

    Take part in KC’s 5th Annual Brush Creek Art Walk as an anticipated 70+ artists take on the challenge of painting in the great outdoors! The public and painters alike are invited to come out and walk, bike or trike the nearly 4 miles of walkways along Brush Creek as Pleinair (landscape) painters, over the course of three days, work toward completing two finalized submissions in oil, pastel, watercolor and mixed media solely on site. Whether a single three-day painting or works done in a matter of hours, registered artists have the chance enter up to two completed and framed works for the chance to show for twelve cash prizes in an awards/opening reception.

    This year features a total of three Quick Paint Events. Corporate or individual sponsorship of $1,000 provides the winning artist a $500 cash prize and the sponsor to walk away with an original (potentially framed) work along with notable promotional opportunities. Contact Alex Hamil for sponsorship responsibilties and availability for judging at these events.

    Friday, September 16, 7-10 p.m. (“A Night Out – on the Plaza”), J.C. Nichols Fountain

    Saturday September 17, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (“The Butterfly Experience”), The Anita B. Gorman Disovery Center (4750 Troost)

    Sunday September 18, 5-8 p.m. (“Sunset Quick Paint”), Brush Creek Community Center, Lake of the Enshriners

    NOTE: All registered artists are invited to join us for each and all of these events! Quick Paint
    purchases, while property of the purchaser/sponsor, remain eligible for additional prize and
    cash awards. These paintings will be on temporary display during the evening of the
    reception and on view through the month of October at The Discovery Center.

    Artists of all ages and media are welcome – Registration is $35 and will last through this
    weekend event. Registration can be made online via PayPal or mail your check to “ArtsKC
    (106 Southwest Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64106). Pay to the order of: Brush Creek Art Walk 2016.
    Plein-Air Painters will have three days (and two nights) to complete two finished paintings
    on-site along the Brush Creek corridor. Registered artists will submit two framed paintings
    for a chance to show in this ‘juried’ gallery exhibition opening Tuesday, October 4h running
    through the month of October. Paintings MUST be painted entirely on-site. “En plein air”
    means “in the open air” and during this three day event four zones are designated along the
    4-mile stretch of Brush Creek with prizes for the top three paintings from each zone and a
    total of 12 awards and prizes. Zone 1 through Zone 4: $300 first place (x4), $200 second
    place (x4), $100 third place (x4). All accepted paintings are eligible for one of 10 Honorable
    Mentions (ribbons only)

    From Summit to Elmwood, there is a continuous trail along the Creek. Included in this year’s
    event we are expanding the corridor even more. The goal is to pay particular attention on
    the various parks and walkways that dot the landscape and may be often undervalued for
    their contribution to making our’s an exceptional city with an urban core.
    Brush Creek has gone through a major transformation since the devastating flooding back in
    1977. Several new bridges have been built, the creek has been reshaped, and landscaping,
    walkways, and fountains have created a beautiful greenway.
    Photos are available upon request.

    The Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center,4750 Troost Ave, Kansas City, MO 64110
    October 4, 5-8 p.m.

    The public is invited to view over 70+ juried paintings of Brush Creek on display through the month of October. Ribbons, certificates and cash awards will be presented to the winning artists promptly at 7 p.m. Paintings, though available for sale (online) beyond the reception, no cash transactions will be allowed following the reception. 20% of all proceeds from the evening’s sales will be donated to the Missouri Department of Conservation as a gift to our hosts for this event.

    This will be Brush Creek Art Walk’s second opportunity to display work for the month of
    October in the gallery and conference room of The Discovery Center. Financed and managed
    through the Missouri Department of Conservation and various donors, this 10-minute walk
    from the Plaza shooping area is a unique, hands-on urban conservation education center
    located on eight acres in the heart of Kansa City. Open to the public 5 days a week. Mon.-Fri
    8am to 5pm / open until 7pm on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month / 1st and 3rd
    Saturdays from 9am to 4pm / Closed all State Holidays (4750 Troost).

    BCAW 2015 photos from last year’s event (via Facebook)
    2014 KCSTAR article


    MulkeyScotts®, the Kansas City Royals, along with Major League Baseball and the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, celebrated the opening of a newly refurbished baseball field at Mulkey Square Park in Kansas City on Saturday, August 20.

    The new field at Mulkey Square Park was unveiled at a special dedication ceremony with the Vice President of the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, Chuck Brady; Director of Kansas City Parks and Recreation, Mark L. McHenry, Kansas City Mayor, Sly James; Vice President of Community Relations for the Kansas City Royals, Ben Aken; and Manager of Consumer Marketing and Public Relations for Scotts®, Kim Markus. Enhancements made to the field include: sodding the infield, a new clay pitcher’s mound, new batter’s boxes, topdressing the base paths, reworking the infield arc, and restoration of the field staging area.

    “These field refurbishments are just one way we can give back to youth and communities across the country,” said Josh Peoples, Vice President and General Manager of Scotts®. “Encouraging fans and family to get outside and enjoy activities like baseball is what this program is all about.”

    “Kansas City is a baseball town. We always have been and we always will be. But, for that to remain a reality, we need to ensure that all kids in our community are given access to the game and to the valuable lessons that go along with being a part of a team,” said Mayor Sly James. “Today’s event does exactly that and I’m incredibly grateful to our partners, Scotts® and the Kansas City Royals, for their work in refurbishing this beautiful field and giving the kids in this neighborhood a safe place to play ball.”

    This effort is part of Scotts® It’s Good Out Here™ Field Refurbishment program, a partnership between Scotts® and MLB to give back to youth and communities by renovating youth ball fields around the country over the next three years.

    “This is another great example of partnerships that benefit our residents and, in particular, our youth,” said Mark L. McHenry, Director of Kansas City Parks and Recreation. “I’d like to thank Scotts for their generous donation of field improvements. With support like this, KC Parks is able to accomplish much more and better meet the needs of our entire community.”

    The It’s Good Out Here™ Field Refurbishment Program is one of the key programs under MLB’s PLAY BALL initiative, which began last season to encourage widespread participation in all forms of baseball and softball activities, especially among youth. Scotts® is a supporter of PLAY BALL and also the title sponsor of Scotts® MLB Pitch, Hit and Run – MLB’s largest national youth skills competition. 

    About ScottsMiracle-Gro
    With approximately $3 billion in worldwide sales, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company is the world’s largest marketer of branded consumer products for lawn and garden care. The Company’s brands are the most recognized in the industry. In the U.S., the Company’s Scotts®, Miracle-Gro® and Ortho® brands are market-leading in their categories, as is the consumer Roundup® brand, which is exclusively marketed near worldwide by Scotts and owned by Monsanto.  In Europe, the Company’s brands include Weedol®, Pathclear®, Evergreen®, Levington®, Miracle-Gro®, KB®, Fertiligène® and Substral®.  In 2016, the Company ranked on Forbes 100 Most Reputable Companies in America. For additional information, visit us at www.scottsmiraclegro.com.

    About PLAY BALL
    PLAY BALL is a joint initiative between MLB, USA Baseball and USA Softball. In addition to encouraging participation in both formal and casual baseball and softball activities, PLAY BALL aims to give kids the opportunity to enjoy the game in a fun environment by highlighting the many ways baseball and softball can be played and providing memorable experiences; introduce young people to the sport who otherwise may not have the chance to experience it; and offer a healthy and active lifestyle option where many of those opportunities are being offered less frequently. PlayBall.org is the PLAY BALL initiative’s online home that provides parents, coaches and kids with information about baseball skills, links to youth-related news and events, searchable maps with links to community baseball leagues, health and safety information.

    A key component of MLB’S PLAY BALL initiative is “PLAY BALL SUMMER.” This program was created in partnership with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, to expose children to the sport of baseball and encourage an active and healthy lifestyle for kids in all communities. Mayors across the country are hosting similar activities this summer to engage citizens, families, and city departments to organize individual and community events.

  5. Kansas City Parks and Boulevards Historic District Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

    DSC_4989“The Kansas City Parks and Boulevards Historic District,” Kansas City, Jackson County, MO, has officially been listed in the National Register of Historic Places for its significance in Community Planning and Development and Landscape Architecture. The historic district (timeframe 1895-1965) comprises three parks including Kessler Park, Penn Valley Park, and The Parade, connected by a series of seven boulevards including Independence, Gladstone, Linwood, Armour, The Paseo, Benton Boulevard, and Broadway, as written in the National Register of Historic Places nomination. Download Original Historic District Map>>

    The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation’s historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America’s historic and archeological resources.

    “Kansas City has a great, historic park system because the city has shown so much respect for it over time,” said Barbara Wyatt, ASLA of the National Park Service. “I extend my thanks to the city government for its stewardship, especially the Parks and Recreation Department and the Park Commission.”

    As stated in the nomination, Kansas City’s parks and boulevard system is traced to the work of landscape architect George E. Kessler (1862-1923). The initial network of parks and boulevards designed and implemented for Kansas City established the nucleus and foundation for the entire system and the city as a whole as it planned for the future, while guiding the design of the entire circulatory system that shaped Kansas City. “The park system was integrated with one of the principal goals of the City Beautiful—the monumental and scenic restructuring of the center of the city.” “The Kansas City Parks and Boulevards Historic District” as an entity is a continuation of Kessler’s 1893 framework for Kansas City, a comprehensive network that guided and coordinated urban growth, thus its significance in Community Planning and Development. In Landscape Architecture, “The Kansas City Parks and Boulevards Historic District” as a whole is representative of the work of George Edward Kessler and later the prominent Kansas City landscape architecture firm of Hare & Hare, combining the natural and formal styles in park and boulevard design.

    “The Kansas City Park and Boulevard System is not only one of the most important public open space networks in the country, but it is a pivotal work of the City Beautiful era where planning and landscape architecture came seamlessly together through the vision of George Kessler. The Cultural Landscape Foundation applauds the increased visibility and recognition of the value of this unrivaled landscape heritage that listing in the National Register of Historic Places affords,” said Charles A. Birnbaum, FASLA, FAAR, President + CEO, The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

    Within “The Kansas City Parks and Boulevards Historic District” there are various parks and boulevards that are significant in other areas, as well. In transportation, “The Kansas City Parks and Boulevards Historic District” affords a connection to the overall boulevard system of roadways while providing the opportunity for a wide variety of activities such as sports, hiking, bicycling, and areas for picnics and community events, tied to the area of Entertainment/Recreation. In Architecture and Art, “The Kansas City Parks and Boulevards Historic District” features a variety of buildings, structures, fountains, memorials and sculpture, often the work of noted architectures, artists and engineers that enhance portions of the system.

    The National Register points out that as Kansas City has unduly sprawled through the years and is now bisected with major Interstate systems, it is important to note that the parks and boulevards included in this nomination afford not only an opportunity to traverse the city by way of an interconnected system of “pleasure drives,” but also to experience a variety of architecture, sculpture and structures that, due to their overall design, material and unique expressions covering a wide range of styles, further enhance and contribute to this enduring landscape.

    The process of getting listed in the National Register began in 2014 when Kansas City Parks and Recreation contracted with Cydney E. Millstein of Architectural & Historical Research, LLC and Paul J. Novick of Confluence to pursue the designation.

    Chronology of Milestones
    June 1, 2014:  First draft of the National Register Nomination submitted to the State Historic Preservation Officers (SHPO)

    June 27, 2014:  Second draft of the National Register Nomination submitted to SHPO for comment

    August 6, 2014: Nomination unanimously passed by the Landmarks Commission

    August 15, 2014: Nomination presented to the Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation in  Jefferson City; unanimously passed

    September 30, 2014: Revised nomination sent to the National Park Service (NPS)

    June 26, 2015: NPS received the subsequent revised nomination.

    June 23, 2016: NPS receives final revised nomination.

    August 9, 2016: The Kansas City Parks and Boulevards Historic District officially listed in the National  Register of Historic Places

  6. Fifth Annual Sly’s Rock the Block Celebration Happening on Saturday

    RTB2016The fifth annual Sly’s Rock the Block celebration is set for Saturday, August 13 from 3 p.m.-7:30 p.m.  The event will offer a variety of entertainment and family-friendly activities to mark another year of successful summer programs.

    “Our Club KC and Mayor’s Nights give young people a way to socialize, dance, play sports, explore art and technology and just have fun in a safe environment,” said Mayor James. “Those programs focus on our youth, but Saturday’s event is for the entire community; we hope to see youth and their families enjoying the live entertainment, great food and fun activities.”

    Thousands are expected to attend the free event, coordinated with the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department. The first 1,500 attendees will receive tickets for free hot dogs, chips and drinks. Several food trucks will also be on the premises offering various food items for sale.

    Live entertainment will begin at approximately 3 p.m. featuring the Mary L. Kelly Dancers; Mr. Stinky Feet; Black Repertory Theatre; The Hearts of Darkness; The Buhs; and Thr3dcard.  Mayor Sly James and Parks and Recreation Director Mark McHenry will welcome guests and speak briefly at approximately 4:30 p.m. during the entertainment lineup.

    The celebration will offer families a variety of fun activities throughout the afternoon including:  Arts Tech (caricatures, face painting, giant Jenga); Zoo Mobile; Discovery Center; Sister Act Face Painting; Imagination Playground; Stone Lion Puppets; video games; college basketball experience pop-a-shot; Girl Scouts (crafts); and several inflatables.   Participants will also have the opportunity to register to vote and visit with a number of community organizations, nonprofits and city departments including TMC Healthy Harvest Mobile Market, The Public Library and Science City.

    “Nearly 7,000 youth and young adults participated in our Club KC and Mayor’s Nights programs this summer,” said Mayor James. “Through the years, we’ve added activities to appeal to the diverse interests of teens and the steady participation shows it is working well for our city.”