The Kansas City, Mo. Parks Department purchased a large piece of property at this intersection in 1957 as part of an initiative to begin a park and boulevard system in Kansas City North. An additional portion of the park is at North Oak Trafficway and North East Vivion Road, acquired in 1979-1980. Additional property was later added, which enlarged the park to the almost 46 acres it is today. Originally called Northgate Park, it was renamed “Anita B. Gorman Park” in 1991.
Anita Belle McPike was born in Palmyra, Missouri. Her family moved to Clay County, Missouri when she was 11 years old. At 17 years of age, she was city-wide president of Y-Teen, a group associated with the YWCA. She graduated from William Jewell College and earned a master’s degree from Boston University. She married Gerald Gorman in 1954.
She devoted her life to civic and community improvements. Among her many accomplishments are as follows:
- She worked to stop the destruction of the Hopewell Indian archaeological site at Line Creek in 1964.
- Served as the Citizens Association of Kansas City’s Board of Governors and was elected its first woman chairman in 1977.
- Worked for the establishment of the Kansas City International Airport and was on the commission for its dedication in 1972.
- Served on many civic boards and committees, including the Salvation Army, City Union Mission, Starlight Theatre, the Convention and Visitors’ Bureau and the Liberty Memorial.
- Served as the first woman appointed to the Kansas City, Mo. Board of Park and Recreation Commissioners, serving from 1979 until 1991 and was its president from 1986 until 1991.
- Missouri Department of Conservation named its conservation center in Kansas City the Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center in 2005 due to her efforts and support in raising money for the Center as Conservation Commission Chairman and to honor her support of conservation programs.