In the 1800s, water from a stream running through Westport gave power to one of the mills there. The stream then traveled southeast and emptied into Brush Creek. The area through which the stream traveled was called Mill Creek Valley. The stream is now part of the city sewer system.
In 1908, the Kansas City Board of Park Commissioners began work to acquire land in the Mill Creek Valley for a public parkway. Over the next few years, the property was condemned, buildings on the condemned property were sold, and roadwork began. In 1913, Mill Creek Parkway, which ran from Westport Avenue to 48th Street, officially opened. In 1952, Mill Creek Parkway was renamed J. C. Nichols Parkway following the death of real estate developer J.C. Nichols who built the Country Club Plaza. On June 30, 2020, the Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioner voted to remove J.C. Nichols and return the street name to Mill Creek Parkway.
What is today’s Mill Creek Park was acquired as right-of-way for Mill Creek Parkway. Tennis courts were built at the north end of the park at 43rd Street around 1914. Other tennis courts were added later further south in the park near Main Street.
A memorial to the women of the Old South was placed in the park at the northeast corner of 47th Street and Mill Creek Parkway in 1934. This memorial was moved in 1958 to make way for the fountain.
In the early 1980s, Miller Nichols began working with cardiologist Dr. Ben McAllister and KC Parks to make portions of the park include a walking/jogging path, an exercise area, benches, lighting and landscaping. Over the next several years, work was done to clean up overgrowth and debris in the north and east areas of the park. Additional lights and a fitness trail were added; some trees and flowers were planted. Also, an eco-pond fountain was created in the northeastern part of the park. Much of park remains an open and grassy area. In 2011, exercise stations were setup along the walking trail.
At 11.43 acres, Mill Creek Park is a very popular and well-used park in Kansas City’s park system. The Plaza Tennis Center is located in the park.
Park Guidelines for Holding Events in Mill Creek Park
*Vehicles are NOT allowed to drive on the grass for item pick-up or drop-off. Street loading/unloading allowed only.
*The following items ARE allowed in Mill Creek Park: Up to eight 10′ x 10′ pop up tents, tables/chairs, sound system, up to a 16’x20’ stage, porta-potties (must be set up toward the north end of park).
*For Large Scale or Sales Events– Maximum capacity 1,000 people, up to six (6) Food Trucks/Vendors. Food trucks must be parked along the curb of Mill Creek Parkway.
*All events must end by 10 p.m.
Visitors seeking to hold an event in Mill Creek Park must first fill out and submit an event request form. They are also encouraged to read through the Special Events FAQ, and to be aware of the park usage fees.