Thousands more people, many of them millennials, are now living in downtown Kansas City, a neighborhood blossoming with arts, culture and entertainment options.
What many of those high-rise residents don’t enjoy is a nearby yard — and that’s due to be addressed this summer.
LiveKC, a privately funded organization managed by Sporting Club, intends to create “The Backyard” on one of downtown’s most underused blocks, Barney Allis Plaza. Private donations given years ago to commemorate Dutton Brookfield, a former city and business leader, also will be used to finance upgrades.
The existing green space, bounded by the Marriott, the Muehlebach, Municipal Auditorium and Bartle Hall, has long suffered from lack of use, largely because it’s elevated above street level, serving more as the roof for an underground parking garage than a public gathering spot.
LiveKC said this week that it and other major area employers have agreed to sponsor food trucks, art, a beer garden, sports programs and music events in an effort to attract people to the “urban backyard.” The goal is to create a town square atmosphere in the heart of downtown.
LiveKC director Erik Wullschleger said LiveKC will provide event staffing, and several design and construction firms are sponsoring work on a “reinvigorated” park over the next three to 12 months.
The public is invited to The Backyard’s official preview, beginning with a happy hour at 5 p.m. June 5.
Wullschleger said planned activities this summer will serve as a test to see what works to draw more people to Barney Allis Plaza.