Kansas City, MO
THE BRUSH CREEK BULLETIN
Volume 9, Issue 2
WET WEATHER PLANS EMERGE FOR
BRUSH CREEK AND TOWN FORK CREEK
To address flooding, abate sewer backups and overflows and improve stream water quality, preliminary alternatives indicate just under $1.4 billion could be spent for sewer and stormwater improvements in the Brush Creek and Town Fork Creek Basins.
The options are part of a comprehensive plan being developed by the city in its Wet Weather Solutions Program. Estimated capital costs for sewer and stormwater improvements city-wide are between $3.5 billion and $5 billion.
The Town Fork Creek Basin roughly encompasses Wornall Road to just west of Prospect Avenue, 75th Street to as far north as 55th Street. The 3,100 acre basin flows into Brush Creek. Homes near Town Fork Creek are prone to flooding during heavy rainfall. The Brush Creek Basin runs immediately north and west of the Town Fork Creek Basin. It starts in Kansas with the Missouri portion running along State Line, as far south as 75th Street to as far north as 31st Street, and as far east as the Blue River, into which the creek flows. The Kansas City portion of both basins include combined sewers, into which wastewater overflows into the storm water pipes when heavy rain or snowmelt exceeds the sewers’ capacity.
Suggested stormwater improvements in Town Fork Creek that could cost as much as $120 million include relief pipe systems, culverts, open channel improvements and potential stream restoration. Sewer system improvements, which could involve a tunnel along Town Fork Creek designed to reduce sewer overflows into the creek, could cost between $100 million and $270 million.
Proposals for stormwater improvements in the 8,000 acre Brush Creek Basin include extensive pipe relief systems, culverts, open channel improvements and stream restoration and are estimated to cost as much as $525 million. Sewer system improvements to reduce overflows could cost between $190 million and $450 million.
Both basins’ proposals include green solutions on public property, which can reduce the volume of stormwater runoff and improve water quality, localized system improvements, tanks or deep tunnels for storage and high rate water treatment.
Engineers have indicated that a single set of improvements to address both the combined sewer overflow and stormwater needs could save approximately $20 million in Town Fork Creek and $20 million to $30 million in the Brush Creek Basin.
The city has been working with community representatives and consultants since 2005 to develop the Wet Weather Solutions plan. Once decisions about the solutions to be implemented and final costs are determined, a funding plan will be developed. The program for the entire city could take up to 25 years to implement, the pace of which will be influenced by how the program is funded.
NELSON’S BLOCH BUILDING OPENING A SENSATION
Almost 16,000 visitors checked out the Bloch Building expansion of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art the opening weekend of June 9 and 10. Over 38,000 people visited the museum or participated in its celebration events in June.
Ground was broken on the expansion in April 2001. The expansion and a number of other improvements made to the Nelson’s facilities cost $200 million. The Bloch Building and its designer Steven Holl have received national acclaim for this work.
KCATA’S BUS RAPID TRANSIT
NEXT STOP: TROOST AVENUE
The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority is planning Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service along Troost Avenue to be ready in 2009.
Boosted by a $6.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Troost Avenue BRT is a proposed nine-mile $24 million project serving 25 stations along Troost from south Kansas City to downtown. This second bus line along Troost will pick up passengers at stations every ten minutes during peak periods, with daily ridership projected to be 9,000 passengers. Average weekday ridership along the Troost corridor is 7,115.
The above rendering depicts a BRT stop in front of St. Francis Xavier Church near Brush Creek.
EDC TARGETS BUSINESS RETENTION
AND GROWTH ALONG BRUSH CREEK
The Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City (EDC) is looking to work with businesses along or near the Brush Creek Corridor to provide services that enhance business development, retention and growth in the area.
Along with supporting redevelopment, the EDC's renewed focus on retention of existing businesses is one of its strategic objectives for 2007-2008. Efforts for the area bounded by 31st Street on the north, 63rd Street on the south, State Line on the west, and Prospect on the east are being led by the EDC’s Jenna Wilkinson, development services specialist, and Kerrie Tyndall, business development officer.
To reach businesses, the EDC has launched an annual business visitation program. Through this effort they plan to raise awareness within the business community of programs targeted towards the needs of individual businesses. Between May 2007 and May 2008, Tyndall will attempt to contact and meet individually with over 100 businesses in the area.
Brush Creek Community Partners is supporting these EDC initiatives. For more information, contact BCCP.
BRUSH CREEK BACKDROP
ON CULTURAL DISTRICT DAY
Drawing people to the amenities along and around Brush Creek was the purpose of Brush Creek Cultural District Day on June 2. The Brush Creek Corridor institutions open to the public were connected by flags along the walkways, with most routes leading to Theis Park, where entertainment was provided for a few hours. The Shortleaf Band concluded the afternoon’s entertainment in the Wheeler Amphitheatre. The 2008 Brush Creek Cultural District Day is scheduled June 7, to coincide with National Trails Day.
TOY & MINIATURE MUSEUM CELEBRATES 25 YEARS
The Toy & Miniature Museum of Kansas City kicked off its 25th anniversary year with “What Does It Mean To Be An American Girl?”
The exhibit runs through August 31, featuring dolls, stories and special events from the American Girl historical cast of characters.
In May visitors learned the manners of a tea ceremony with Felicity 1774: A Day with Miss Manderly.
For more information, visit www.umkc.edu/tmm.
DISCOVERY CENTER REACHES
The Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center celebrated its fifth year of service to the urban community this spring. Former Missouri Department of Conservation Commissioner Anita B. Gorman, center Manager Bob Fluchel and Education Specialist Michael Fraser greeted guests during an open house held in observation of reaching the milestone.
The Discovery Center is located on ten acres that includes gardens, wetlands, walkways and wildlife at 4750 Troost Avenue in Kauffman Legacy Park. The environmentally friendly building houses the information and outreach services of the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
Since its opening in 2002, approximately 250,000 school children have learned about nature and conservation through the center’s programming. An estimated 62,000 people will visit the center this fiscal year with children constituting about 80 percent of its guests.
BRUSH CREEK COMMMUNITY RAIN GARDEN TAKING ROOT
The 150-foot long rain garden along Brush Creek in the southwest corner of Theis Park at Oak Street was constructed and planted by scores of volunteers in April. The Brush Creek Raingarden is a project of the Kansas City Art Institute’s (KCAI) Persuasive Ecology class, and is a response to former Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes’ 10,000 Rain Gardens Initiative. Rain and snowmelt is caught in a rocky bowl planted with native grasses and wetland plants to reduce runoff into the creek and onto paved infrastructure.
The garden was planted by KCAI and University of Missouri-Kansas City students and community volunteers with technical assistance provided by Black & Veatch, McCownGordon Construction LLC and BCCP members the Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center and BNIM Architects. Embassy Lawn & Landscaping Group provided volunteer and mechanical resources that made the planting possible.
Upon the garden’s completion, a limestone bench will be built into a berm for visitors to view the sustainable garden. Around the bench and below the catchment bowl and rain garden, there will be cast cement stones embedded in low berm walls, which will be inscribed with text explaining the purpose and benefits of rain gardens. KCAI students and community members will develop small message stones to place around the garden for the education of visitors.
Brush Creek Community Partners is supporting KCAI in the completion and maintenance of the rain garden. For more information, contact BCCP.
BRUSH CREEK VILLAGE
NEW HOME TO IVANHOE HOUSE
Brent Lambi made Brush Creek Village a new partner in the Ivanhoe House tutoring experiment when he signed a memorandum of understanding between the apartment complex, the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), the Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council (INC) and Swope Community Builders (SCB) this spring. INC Executive Director Margaret May (left) and UMKC Provost Bruce Bubacz look on.
Launched in 2006, the Ivanhoe House project had four UMKC students living in Ivanhoe to tutor and mentor neighborhood children. This school year, up to eight college students will live in Brush Creek Village rent-free while SCB will cover the cost of utilities in the apartments they occupy. As many as 20 neighborhood children may be served by the arrangement, which is designed to help them with their academic performance and avoid trouble.
For the first year the students lived in a house owned by the neighborhood. The need to sell the house prompted an inquiry of Lambi, who had purchased the former Village Green apartments in 2006 and has been working to improve the property. He readily agreed to provide the apartments. “I have been impressed with Brent’s willingness to help us build Ivanhoe,” said May. “The health of Brush Creek Village, in part, contributes to the health of Ivanhoe.”
FIRST LITERARY FESTIVAL DRAWS
BIG NAMES AND BIG CROWD
Former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser (Blizzard Voices, Delights and Shadows) shared his work with the crowd on the Country Club Plaza during the first Kansas City Literary Festival in May. About 13,000 attended the event, which featured 75 writers and special events. Kooser was appointed the Library of Congress’ 13th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry in 2004.
BANK PRESIDENT SEES GOOD RETURN
FOR INVESTMENT ALONG BRUSH CREEK
“It’s getting results for the investment.” It’s easy to understand Jim Sangster’s take on Brush Creek Community Partners. Sangster is president of UMB Bank and is in his third year as a member of Brush Creek Community Partners’ Board of Directors and second year as the organization’s treasurer.
Sangster arrived in Kansas City in 1982 from his hometown of Iowa City to work for a bank that is now part of UMB. As bank President, he is responsible for commercial lending and meets a lot people. He knows the value of connections, and it was connections that lead him to BCCP.
“Bill Downey (president of Kansas City Power & Light) and David Welte (board member of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research) invited me to join,” Sangster said. “The bank has been a BCCP member for a number of years.”
As he considered the invitation, Jim learned more about BCCP and liked the positive thinking of the organization. He saw that it was getting results and the real possibility of having an impact through the BCCP board appealed to him
“You look for opportunities to get involved in the community, particularly when you can be heard and make a difference,” he said.
Sangster has found a number of ways to make an impact. In addition to membership on the BCCP board, he is a director on the boards of the Kansas City Area Development Council and Harvesters - Community Food Network. He is also a member of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Trustees and a member of the board of the Missouri Bankers Associations.
Sangster doesn’t think of himself as the stereotypic banker. He admits to being somewhat conservative, but he’s been known to go his own way on things, like when he broke a four-generation tradition and went to a college other than Iowa University. He says he likes to speak his mind openly and does that as a member of the BCCP board.
He feels the key work of the partnership is in making connections, building networks and exposing others to the area, its assets and its needs. He appreciates the various constituents that make up the board and the joint effort in looking after the area.
“It’s a collaboration of business, neighborhoods, Parks and Recreation and BCCP leadership that brings in new people that can be exposed to the area. Different voices, different objectives that we can bring to bounce thoughts and ideas off each other. It’s not just government.” Sangster says his input is in business connections and how business should work. “I get that part of it,” he said.
Looking toward the future, Sangster sees a lot of good momentum but is concerned that investment in the area continues with emphasis on education and awareness. He feels more infrastructure is needed continuing east and should be an on-going concern addressed by business and foundations.
And about the city overall? Sangster says he can’t imagine living anywhere else. “It’s a wonderful community—good people, livable, easy, with plenty to do.”
A good return from a lot of good investment from people like Jim Sangster.