Creation of the Quality of Life Investment District and Partnership with Center for Neighborhoods
The City of Kansas City, Missouri Parks and Recreation has created a fourth maintenance district to help combat inequity within the park system. The Quality of Life Investment District (QLID) will now manage all KC Parks located in five of the six zip codes within the city that have the lowest life expectancy. There are a total of 38 Parks (out of 221) within the QLID. Terry Rynard, KC Parks director says, “Creating a more equitable park system is the most important and significant work we can be doing at this moment. All of our residents deserve parks they can be proud of no matter where they live.”
This new district is a one-stop shop that includes forestry, park maintenance, building maintenance, and landscape staff to tackle all of a park’s needs. The QLID team has been created with a group of highly motivated individuals that include staff who have transferred from other districts, as well as new city employees looking to better these parks.
A study by the KCMO Health Department in 2012 determined that residents who live in zip codes, 64126, 64127, 64128, 64129, 64130 and 64132, have a life expectancy 12-15 years less than those who live in other zip codes throughout the city. KC Parks internal audits through its S.H.A.P.E. (Safe, Healthy, Attractive, Public Environments) Program show that parks within the same zip codes, score consistently poorer when compared to parks in other areas. The department acknowledges that past practices and policies may have intentionally or unintentionally contributed to the equity gap. Acknowledging and correcting these inequities is a priority for the department.
KC Parks has partnered with UMKC’s Center for Neighborhoods to help connect with the neighborhoods in the QLID, provide training and outreach materials to help identify issues in the parks, and ultimately develop neighborhood ParkCentric plans that include strategies for on-going collaboration with KC Parks.
A QLID Kickoff Celebration will take place at Oak Park on Saturday, May 22nd from 11a.m.-1.p.m. Representatives from KC Parks and QLID staff, Center for Neighborhoods, and representatives from the neighborhood will all be celebrating this new initiative. There will be food, fun activities and celebration.
QLID Kickoff Celebration
Saturday, May 22nd 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Oak Park, 43rd and Agnes Avenue