Protect and preserve our public space by providing a transparent democratic process for evaluating proposals for the adaptive reuse of the Gillham Park Maintenance Building.
This petition made change with 93 supporters!
The KC Parks Commission should not lease the publicly-owned Park Maintenance Building in Gillham Park for a company's private profit. The Parks & Rec Department plans on moving forward with a proposal that would lease the public Park Maintenance building below market rate to a private company, Kansas City Carriages, to keep horses and carriages at the building with a vision of hosting community groups during the day. Some details were outlined in a recent KC Star article, but the rest of the proposal was not made available to the broader community, which concerned many of the building’s neighbors. Because of its concerns, the Hyde Park Neighborhood Association invited the Parks Department and KC Carriages to present their plan at a neighborhood meeting, but the presentation and answers revealed a lack of consideration for important community concerns including
*lack of public uses of the facility,
*sustainability, walkability, bike-ability,
*funding for historic restoration,
*encroachment on the park,
*protective terms in the lease of a public building, and
*specific educational opportunities for neighborhood schools and families.
Information shared at the meeting gave neighbors even more reason for concern - the proposal would do away with one of the existing and frequently used ball fields in Gillham Park, turning it into a for-profit pumpkin patch. Before the Parks Department gives away our public space for private use, it must follow a transparent open process. Our community has the right to more information concerning the repurposing of a public park space.
The Star article also mentions that the KC Carriages proposal has neighborhood support, and yet only one Hyde Park resident is quoted. In contrast, a survey on the South Hyde Park Facebook page (the Parks building is located in to South Hyde Park) shows that the KC Carriage proposal has very little neighborhood support. To date, the survey has 114 responses, and less than 2 % of the responses support the re-use of the space for a private horse and carriage company. Our community envisions something better than the current proposal – we want a plan more authentic to the culture of Midtown as a vibrant, artistic, active, community in the city.
The vast majority of survey respondents are in favor of a plan that would re-use the space based on the surrounding neighborhoods’ values, needs, and dreams, and in a way that re-imagines the public space as collaboration between the city and residents. We want the Parks Department to consider alternative proposals envisioned, created, and vetted by residents of Midtown, particularly those in South Hyde Park, who have the most to gain or lose by the building’s reuse. Our community insists that the Parks Department should re-open the proposal process and consider alternative plans designed to benefit the residents of Midtown.
Today: Kristen is counting on you
Kristen Ellis Johnson needs your help with “Kansas City Parks and Recreation Commission: Protect and preserve our public space by providing a transparent democratic process for evaluating proposals for the adaptive reuse of the Gillham Park Maintenance Building.”. Join Kristen and 92 supporters today.