New City Beautiful Movement: Restoring KC’s Parks and Boulevards – Study Pushes For More Equitable Investment Citywide
In an article from FlatlandKC.org about the current movement in Kansas City to restore KC Parks, Center for Neighborhoods Director, Dina Newman, was interviewed alongside Paul Angelone, a senior director at Urban Land Institute(ULI) headquarters, Terry Rynard- deputy director of the Parks and Recreation Department, Dianne Cleaver- president of the Urban Neighborhood Initiative, and Esther Kershaw- President of the Boston Heights/Mt. Hope Neighborhood Association.
‘A seat at the table’
The University of Missouri-Kansas City Center for Neighborhoods opened in April of 2016. While it is still fairly new, the center currently works with 67 neighborhood associations across the city.
Director Dina Newman refers to the center as a “one stop shop” for neighborhood associations seeking resources to go back to their communities and do the work that needs to be done.
“There are over 240 neighborhood organizations in Kansas City,” Newman said. “The majority don’t have a brick and mortar facility, they are meeting in church basements. So we help neighborhood leaders build their capacity.”
Newman believes it’s important for neighborhood leaders to be involved in projects from the onset. They are currently working with a community near the UMKC campus on potentially converting the site of a demolished school building into student housing.
“We firmly believe that neighborhood leaders are the experts in the room, and a lot of the time, they’re not given a seat at the table,” Newman said. “A lot of communities of concern are aware of the challenges, they’ve been told that for years, they live there. So we flip the script and ask neighborhood leaders to map out their assets.”
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