If you were unable to attend the Westside Committee Meeting on Saturday, June 17, 2023 to review the current phase of the project and provide your feedback, you are welcome to complete the online survey created from the Community Meeting materials here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JarboePlacemaking

Project Description for 17th and Jarboe Placemaking
The community design process referred to as “Placemaking” is an approach anchored in community collaboration. It is this specific approach that distinguishes the 17th and Jarboe Placemaking planning and design process. Placemaking is centered around observing, listening to, and asking questions of the people who live, work, and play in a particular space in order to understand their needs and aspirations for that space and for their community as a whole. That “conversation” informs a common vision for that particular place. The vision can evolve quickly into an implementation strategy with community members, beginning with small-scale improvements that bring immediate benefits both to the spaces themselves and the people who use them.

MRC seeks to embrace the demographic changes to the landscape with services and an unwavering commitment to maintaining the pulse of the local community. MRC sought an Applicant Defined Grant from Health Forward Foundation to fund this Placemaking initiative to support quick-win, transformative projects leading to healthier lifestyles in Kansas City’s Westside community.

This Placemaking process will build upon:
● West Pennway Streetscape Project funded by the Mid America Regional Council that outlines $4.3 M in streetscape improvements to West Pennway (plan completed 2022)
● The recently completed construction of Mattie Rhodes Cultural Center ($3.1M, completed 2022)
● The Strategic Plan for the Kansas City Parks and Recreation (ongoing) following the appointment of its new Director
● Kansas City Public Schools Blueprint 2030 planning process

Growing evidence shows that our ZIP code has a greater impact on our health than our genetic code. The neighborhoods in which people live—where family members play, study, work, and worship—affect health in multiple and complex ways. Studies have shown that a neighborhood’s socioeconomic condition will affect whether residents have healthy diets and exercise regularly. The availability of safe playgrounds and sidewalks, after-school physical activity programs for young people, and affordable nutritious food will encourage healthy behaviors and help people adopt and sustain them. People are also more likely to thrive if they live in a community with easy access to good jobs and economic opportunities, and alongside neighbors who look after one another. Living in neighborhoods without these essentials, the population is more likely to be burdened with high rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, depression or other chronic illnesses. In sum, place matters.

The place this project focuses on includes Jarboe Park, the parkland just south of 17th Street, Primitivo Garcia Elementary School, 17th Street between Beardsley and Madison, Jarboe Street from West Pennway north to the circle drive. The land stewards in this area include KCMO Parks and Recreation, the Kansas City Public Schools District, and Mattie Rhodes. The people who live, work and play here are Westside residents, students, families, and teachers of Primitivo Garcia, and local businesses. This is an intentionally complex mix of perspectives that has the potential to create a greater vision and benefits for the community through being holistic and collaborative in its approach.

Primitivo Garcia Elementary School is already a partner with the community, and the residents who live nearby help to keep the grounds clean and safe. The school Administration has stated a need for improvements to their outdoor spaces for the older elementary students. As the student population grows with the recent closure of Longfellow Elementary school, additional facility improvements will be needed. The School District has allowed this Placemaking process to consider outdoor spaces owned by the district in the preliminary design of the open space. These are spaces that would be primarily designed for the use of the students, but could potentially be accessible to the greater community after school hours or during times when school is not in session. This idea is yet to be approved or formalized.

Statement regarding the project from KCPS: Kansas City Public Schools District (KCPS) and Primitivo Garcia Elementary are involved in this process as a land-holding stakeholder but have not committed to specific outcomes of the process nor have they dedicated a budget to improvements of their land or building shown in this process. KCPS supports the exploration of possibilities that could enhance the amenities for the school community as well as the overall livability for those who call the Westside home. The district plans to stay engaged and informed in order to consider community partnerships that could add value to the school, the district as a whole, and the surrounding neighborhood in the future. This is not a part of the KCPS Bond evaluation process.

In sponsoring this collaborative design process, Mattie Rhodes Center (MRC) is encouraging the greater community to envision an ideal way to use this space and work together. MRC understands the complexities of layering public and private funding sources and is looking for opportunities for Westside to make the most of resources that are available to their community. One of the needs Mattie Rhodes
sees in Kansas City is early childhood learning. The school district agrees that this is a need for KCMO families. After much discussion with the Advisory Committee, the W17th and Jarboe Placemaking Team has decided to remove the option of moving forward with an early learning center in the specific focus area.

There are always many ongoing City-led projects, and for that reason representatives from City Departments are included on the 17th and Jarboe Placemaking Advisory Committee to stay in close coordination with the consultant team as well as the Westside residents, school representatives, and business owners who are also on the Advisory Committee. Nicolas Bosonetto is the representative from the Public Works Department to keep the group informed on street and sidewalk infrastructure projects. Scott Overbay is the representative from the Parks Department to keep the group informed and liaised with the ongoing citywide Parks projects. The Aquatics Master Plan is being conducted by the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department and includes the study and evaluation of the 27 aquatic venues across the city. This includes 11 outdoor pools, 3 indoor pools, and 13 spraygrounds. Jarboe Pool is 1 of the 27 facilities being evaluated. There are several challenges to the aquatics system that have prompted the Aquatics Master Plan. The system has multiple aging aquatic facilities, which is causing increasing maintenance and operational costs. Additionally, there has been a decreasing level of attendance and diminishing revenue, along with an ongoing challenge in staffing enough lifeguards for the swimming pools. With the addition of newer and more modern aquatic facilities in the metro area, the city’s aquatic facilities are now also competing for participation.

The Aquatics Master Plan is being conducted to understand the conditions of existing aquatic facilities, while also planning to meet the needs of the community and improving operational and financial sustainability. The study is anticipated to be completed in the summer of 2023.Although the online survey has closed, community members may submit feedback and comments by visiting the project website below and submit feedback on the Map of Aquatic Facilities. https://watersedge.mysocialpinpoint.com/kansas-city-aquatics

Another citywide project to be aware of is the Parks and Recreation Master Plan 2032 being conducted by the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department. Currently the consultant team, led by Landworks Studio, is assessing facilities in all parks. Please see the project website below to provide additional feedback:

KCMO Parks states: KCMO Parks are involved in this process as a land-holding stakeholder, but have not committed to specific outcomes of the process nor have they dedicated budget to the park improvements at this time. They are in support of this design and engagement process and will look to it for an understanding of community priorities for the future of this parkland.

Mattie Rhodes Center appreciates all our community members who have taken the time to be a part of this important process and continue to make the Westside a wonderful place to live, work and play.