KC looks for feedback on future Northland community center

Of Kansas City’s 10 community centers, only two are north of the river. But the city has plans in the works for a new community center in Kansas City, North.

City officials have started brainstorming ideas about what features it should have and where it should be located. This Tuesday, they’re seeking feedback from residents at a planning meeting.

“We just don’t go out and build a community center in a vacuum,” city park planner Steve Abbott said. “This is totally a public involvement process.”

So far, city officials have talked about including a walking track, an indoor pool, meeting rooms and a gymnasium, among other things.

They are also looking at population growth and demographic patterns to see which neighborhoods need a community center the most. These growth trends will help determine what features the center will include and where the city will build it, Abbott said.

Parts of Clay County have a large aging population, but the area has also seen an influx of younger residents. That means the center will need a mixture of amenities so the community can get the most use out of it, said Dave Mecklenburg, a Parks and Recreation Board of Commissioners member.

Anyone interested in learning more about the plans and offering their opinions can go to Tuesday’s meeting at the Kansas City North Community Center, 3930 Antioch Road, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

This is the first public meeting about the new center, and as the city gets feedback from residents, a more concrete plan will take shape. Abbott says the city expects to have a plan ready by September.

It will include a cost estimate for the center, which means the next step is figuring out where the city will get funding for the project, Mecklenburg said.

Neither Abbott nor Mecklenburg had an estimate for when the center might be completed.

“It’s not a short-term thing, unfortunately,” Mecklenburg said. “Funding is always a challenge. I think we’re going to try to be very prudent on how we do that, not to over-commit.”