KC Parks News

  1. ‘Cycle in the City’ offers Free Family Fun May 16

    Facebook Profile copyPublic invited to bike, walk, stroll and play on KC Parks Ward Parkway as part of this open streets festival!

    Cycle in The City, an initiative led by the City’s Bike KC program will transform a portion of Ward Parkway boulevard to a family-friendly open streets festival on Saturday, May 16, from 2-5 p.m. Cycle in the City is free and open to all ages and was designed to encourage urban exploration in an innovative, healthy, social and fun environment without the interference of motor vehicle traffic.

    From Meyer Circle Fountain to Gregory Boulevard, Cycle in the City will feature a variety of free, family-friendly activities including the opportunity to bike, walk, roll, stroll, jog and play along one of Kansas City’s most beautiful thoroughfares.

    Cycle in the City has no start or finish line, just a wide-open, split-lane boulevard with games, music and other entertainment stationed throughout the 2-mile course loop.

    Activities include:

    • DJ, Live Music and Roaming Performers
    • Free Rock Climbing Wall and Bungee Bounce Pods
    • Arts and Crafts from Oddball Kids
    • Free Yoga courtesy of Yoga Rocks the Park Kansas City
    • Badminton, Bags and other Lawn Games
    • Free Dance Lessons courtesy of the Kansas City Ballet
    • Delicious Food and Beverages available for purchase
    • Bike safety course and much more!

    For more information about Cycle in the City, including volunteer opportunities, traffic/parking information, activities and the event map, visit www.CycleinKC.com!

    Cycle in the City is modeled after similar, highly-popular events held in cities around the world, commonly known as Ciclovia’s. An initiative led by the City’s Bike KC program and managed by O’Neill Marketing & Event Management, more information is available at cycleinKC.com. The Bike KC program works to transform the City into a bikeable and walkable community through infrastructure, planning, design, education and encouragement.

  2. MAPIT Program Beautifies KC Parks Community Centers

    mapitTwo mural projects have recently been installed in KC Parks Community Centers as part of the MAPIT (Mural Arts Program Inspiring Transformation) program. MAPIT is an innovative program centered on the belief that art has the power to serve as an agent for benevolent social change.

    Mother Winter, by artist Phil “Sike” Shafer and his apprentice has been installed in KC North Community Centers. The mural covers approximately 280 square feet of an interior wall of the community center.  Mr. Shafer is a graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute and implements mural projects to transform bland surfaces with colorful, positive and uplifting imagery.  A reception and official unveiling took place on April 10.

    Coming Home to Brush Creek, by artist Robin Case and her apprentice has been installed at Brush Creek Community Center. The mural covers approximately 350 square feet of an interior wall of the community center.  In addition to creating interior murals, Ms. Chase also teaches.  She has taught workshops through Synergy House, Kansas City Young Audiences, and Grandview High School. A reception and offical unveiling will take place on April 20.

    With leadership from Councilman Scott Wagner’s office, MAPIT is a growing collaborative coalition of community organizations including the KCMO Municipal Art Commission, KC Parks, Mattie Rhodes, ArtsTech, the Kansas City Art Institute, the Full Employment Council, the KCMO School District and others.

    Community-based art projects are inherent social change agents and the benefits of creating a mural through an active, progressive experience with a rigorous, mentor based curriculum are significant. Creating Community-based art in the public realm often provides community healing, inspiration, education, and mutual understanding―culminating in a higher sense of appreciation, respect for oneself and community.

    Community Benefits

    • Deter and mitigate tagging and unwanted graffiti
    • Unite artists and communities through collaborative process
    • Increased awareness about unique neighborhood and individual culture
    • Beautification

    Youth Enrichment

    • Art Education
    • Personal and professional development
    • Personal growth and leadership
    • Positive self-expression and self esteem
    • Sense of ownership – Respect for self, peers and community
    • Job opportunity
    • Real-world professional skills and experience for future endeavors

    Skill Building
    Not only will the youth research and learn about community themes for inspiration, the new muralists will learn the nuts and bolts of proper mural technique: how designing a mural differs from designing a painting, proper use of painting tools, working with acrylic paint, color mixing, composition, gridding and scaling a drawing. A mural project also teaches teamwork, cooperative learning, healthy conflict resolution, compromise, public presentation skills, research skills, self-promotion, and community outreach.

    Themes and Topics
    Through community input, murals are often based upon a range of themes and topics related to community culture and related impact; both positive and negative. Among many, topics range from improving social and communal needs, unique place-making, history, diversity, memorializing and just plain fun.

  3. {NEWS} KC Parks Completes Tree Inventory with TRIM Grant

    Meyer Avenue of Trees Entrance & Flagpole S ViewWith the help of a Tree Resource Improvement and Maintenance (TRIM) grant from the Missouri Department of Conservation, KC Parks Forestry staff conducted an inventory of trees in Kansas City, Missouri focusing on areas that have been developed since the last professional tree inventory was completed in 2001.

    Over the past 14 years trees have been lost through construction, redevelopment, attrition, disease, or storm damage.  Additionally, new trees have been planted through new residential developments, urban renewal projects, and on-going developments.  Of particular concern to the City’s Forestry staff are the locations of ash trees that are under attack by the invasive pest, the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB).

    This recently completed survey added 8,248 trees to the City’s tree inventory bringing Kansas City’s total number of trees in publicly-owned developed areas to 135,500.  Of these, 1,408 are ash trees that have now been added to the City’s EAB protection program.

    TRIM is a competitive cost-share tree care program administered by the Missouri Department of Conservation in cooperation with the Missouri Community Forest Council.

  4. Bayer Advanced and KC Parks Host Arbor Day Celebration

    Kansas City to be honored as TreeCity USA, free trees, tree planting ceremony and family activities

    What: Bayer Advanced, in partnership with KC Parks and Recreation, will host a Healthy Trees for Life Arbor Day celebration event to give away trees and educate area residents on the importance of keeping trees healthy, and the threat posed by invasive pests such as emerald ash borer. We will also have fun activities such as kids’ scavenger hunt and free giveaways!

    The Arbor Day Foundation will also be in attendance, including Foundation president Dan Lambe. They will honor Kansas City as a TreeCity USA, signifying the city’s commitment to caring for and managing its public trees.

    When: Saturday, April 18, 12:30 – 4:30 pm (tree planting ceremony at 2:30 PM)

    Where: Loose Park, Corner of 55th St. and Summit St., Kansas City, MO  64112


    Mark Randolph, area sales manager for Bayer Advanced

    Douglas A. Spilker, Ph.D., ornamental plant pathologist and entomologist

    Dan Lambe, president, Arbor Day Foundation

    Maggie Stuckey, Senior Manager of Corporate Partnerships, Arbor Day Foundation

    Mark L. McHenry, director, KC Parks 

    Background: Since its discovery in Michigan in 2002, the emerald ash borer has killed tens of millions of ash trees. The infestation has spread to 22 states and continues to grow. Healthy trees can be saved – preventative action can be taken to stop the borer before it does damage.

  5. Suggested Discover Day Itineraries

    Make the most of  KC Parks Community Centers Discover Day with these  recommended agendas!
    All activities are FREE.

    KCPR_DiscoverDayFBad_1APR15Discover Day is Saturday, April 11:

    9-10 a.m.:  Water Aerobics | Tony Aguirre
    11 a.m.-12 p.m.: Dodgeball | KC North
    1-4 p.m.: Public Skate | Line Creek
    3-5 p.m. Badminton  | Hillcrest
    4-5 p.m.: Tennis Carnival | Garrison

    10-11a.m.: Face Painting | Garrison
    11-11:30 a.m.: Kids in the Kitchen | Southeast
    1-2 p.m. Picnic Lunch  | Hillcrest
    2:30-2:45 p.m.: Mini Skate Lesson | Line Creek
    3-4 p.m.: Dance Team Workshop | Brush Creek

    9 a.m.-1 p.m.: Arts & Crafts | Marlborough
    10:30 a.m.-4 p.m.: Teen Outdoor Graffiti Chalk Murals | Tony Aguirre
    11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.: Ceramics | Southeast
    3-4:30 p.m.: Arts & Crafts | Westport Roanoke

    9-10 a.m.: Cardio Tennis | Garrison
    12-1 p.m.: Pilates and Zumba | Southeast
    2-4:30 p.m.: Fitness Challenge | Marlborough
    4:30-6 p.m.: Open Yoga | Westport Roanoke

    9-11 a.m.: Ping Pong | KC North
    11-11:30 a.m. Bumper Pool | Southeast
    1:30-3 p.m..: Xbox | Hillcrest
    2-4 p.m.: Video Game Challenge | Gregg/Klice

    9-11 a.m.: Pickleball | KC North
    10-11 a.m.: Roller Derby | Tony Aguirre
    12:30-1:30 p.m. Air Hockey | Southeast
    2-5 p.m.: 3 Point Basketball Contest | Hillcrest

    9 a.m.-1 p.m.: Open Pottery | Westport Roanoke
    11 a.m.- 1 p.m.: Ping Pong | Marlborough
    1-2 p.m.: Bootcamp | Southeast
    1-4 p.m.: Public Skate | Line Creek
    3-5 p.m.: Badminton | Hillcrest

    Complete schedule of activities and location information.

    Have a great time discovering all that KC Parks Community Centers have to offer! Take pictures and hashtag #DiscoverDay and #KCParks

  6. Award-Winning Brush Creek Royal Diamonds

    Royal DiamondsThe newly formed Brush Creek Royal Diamonds have been sweeping the competition this past month.  The Royal Diamonds took third place in the drill team division in the Kansas City St. Patrick’s Day parade.

    On March 21, they competed in the KC Sizzlers Annual March-a-thon and were the first place team overall.  The competition also broke down into individual age groups. The age groups ranged from 3-5 years old, 6-8 years old, 9-11 years old and 12 years old and up. In the 3-5 year old division Decoria placed in the top five. In the 6-8 year old division Bre Bre placed in the top five. In the 9-11 year old division Linnell, Alex and Shaniya all placed in the top 10. And in the 12 and up division the captain, Mone’t, placed in the top ten and received a judge’s choice award.  We are very proud of the Brush Creek Royal Diamonds and can’t wait to display more trophies at Brush Creek Community Center.

    Watch a video of the Brush Creek Royal Diamonds in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. More>>


  7. Building Teams and Redrawing Boundary Lines

    Katie Sowers demonstrates a touchdown dance at Ability Day, organized by the Recreation Council of Greater Kansas City. The event was held at a City soccer field.

    Katie Sowers demonstrates a touchdown dance at Ability Day, organized by the Recreation Council of Greater Kansas City. The event was held at a City soccer field.

    Congratulations to #KCParks Athletic Director Katie Sowers for being featured in the KCMO Employee Newsletter!

    “Since I can’t play football when I grow up, I will play basketball,” wrote an 8-year-old Katie Sowers in her second grade journal.

    Sowers lived in a small town of 3,000 and shared a natural love for sports with her identical twin sister. They enjoyed watching football on TV, practicing in the backyard and playing with the neighborhood boys. Their best Christmas memory was a gift of old football jerseys, pads and helmets from Bethel College in central Kansas where their father coached basketball. But there seemed no future in their favorite game.

    Still, the heart finds its own way. In college Sowers learned of a women’s tackle team in west Michigan and she traveled 90 minutes each way to play with them. Now, seven years later, she begins her third season with the Kansas City Titans, a semi-pro, full-contact football team in the Women’s Football Alliance. In 2014 she was named the alliance’s offensive player of the year, and in 2013 she traveled with the USA Women’s National Football Team to Finland, where the team won the gold medal.

    She also works as athletic director for the City’s Parks and Recreation Department. One of her goals is to level the sports playing field for girls and women in the community. “Sometimes we tend to forget that part of the population—urban girls especially get left out of sports and team experiences,” she says. “There’s a huge benefit, but often we look past this.”

    In Sowers’ ideal world, girls would be free to play football, boys would feel welcome on the volleyball court and coaches would never admonish the defensive line to “quit hitting like a girl.”

    When she organizes the City’s youth sports clinics during the summer for bitty basketball, football and soccer, she makes a point to bring in female athletes (including fellow Titans team members) to make presentations. This not only inspires the girls—it offers the boys a new perspective as well.

    “I want to break down barriers and open up opportunities for all kids,” she says. “It’s a culture change. A lot of it is so ingrained.”

    In addition to organizing youth clinics, Sowers assists adult leagues, from flag football and basketball to softball and kickball. She manages field allocations, sets up competitions and schedules umpires and referees.

    She hopes to leverage her experience and enthusiasm to boost the citywide leagues and the Kansas City Titans to new levels. “They’re both sleepers in a way,” she says, “but they’re gaining momentum.”

    Women’s football is particularly unrecognized. “Most people don’t have a clue that this whole world exists,” Sowers says, noting the Titans’ first home game in 2015 is at Shawnee Mission South High School stadium on April 25. She’ll start as quarterback and her sister, Liz Sowers, will be a wide receiver.

    “I don’t play football to be a rebel,” she says. “I play because it makes me happy. It’s totally against societal norms, but I’ve never been one to worry about what’s socially acceptable.”

    And if she could step back in time and speak to her former 8-year-old self? “I’d say be patient and keep a positive attitude, but push the boundaries. People can do anything they want if they push hard enough.”

    Written by Jill Draper, KCMO City Communications