816 North

April 9, 2013

Kansas City to study need for new Northland community center

A recent Parks Board contract is asking a Kansas City architecture firm to study what amenities the area needs are what is already in place.

Kansas City is considering whether the Northland needs a new community center.

The Kansas City Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners recently authorized its staff to complete a contract for a formal study this year. Negotiations are expected to go forward with SFS Architecture of Kansas City.

Two possible locations for such a facility could be Pleasant Valley Park and Anne Garney Park, said Scott Wagner, 1st District at-large Kansas City City Council member.

“With the growth in the Northland, particularly in the Shoal Creek area, there has just been a tremendous increase in population in the Clay County area and very few amenities from a parks standpoint,” said Wagner.

The one existing community center in that general area, Wagner said, is the Kansas City North Community Center at 3930 N.E. Antioch Road.

Both the Garney and Pleasant Valley parks sites were identified in a similar needs assessment completed for the parks department back in 2003, Wagner said. But officials never acted upon that report, he said, adding that both he and fellow council member Dick Davis want to re-open the topic.

“We want to see if we can get some consensus as to whether a community center is needed and, if so, where,” said Wagner. “But we are also thinking through the financial piece and thinking how we might be able to build it. You can always identify a location but financing a facility is another deal entirely.”

Part of the assessment, Wagner added, will be to consider the needs and existing amenities of other Northland entities, such as school districts or cities such as Gladstone, Liberty or North Kansas City.

“We don’t necessarily view this as solely a Kansas City facility,” said Wagner. “We are looking at the total trade area, and those just don’t stop at city boundaries.”

David Mecklenburg, a member of the parks commissioners board, emphasized the study would be only the first step of a long process.

“This just will be based on a couple of sites and will be very preliminary,” he said.

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