Park Walk #2, May Day 2010
(Plus May 8 with the bushwhackers.)
The growing group of stakeholders in Roanoke Park expanded by 68% from the first walk in Gillham Park. Many more came from all four nearby neighborhoods of Coleman Highlands, Roanoke, Valentine and Volker.
This walk, on May Day 2010, compared the recently renovated Gillham Park to what might be in Roanoke. Dona Boley began the walk with a brief history of the storied Kessler Park System that makes Kansas City unique among American Cities.
Roanoke Park is one of the “pods” in the overall Kessler system. In fact Roanoke Park is one of the best jewels in the system even though somewhat tarnished from lack of a focused upkeep plan over the past 100 years.
Dona pointed out a favorable wind already blows across Roanoke park:
- The 1990 Landscape Architectural/Historic Survey of the parks and boulevard system determined that Roanoke Park, Karnes Boulevard, and Valentine Boulevard are 4 stars, the highest rating. They are exceptionally significant.
- Landscapes in this 4-star category should be treated with the greatest priority, and may even be so designated for extra special attention. Opportunities through planning and management should emphasize preservation and restoration. Necessary changes and additions should be most sympathetically considered.
Dona also provided some great historic photos that will soon be added to roanokeparkkc.org so we have a reference point to see the change in the park over time.
Browse here to see Dona's powerpoint on the history of KC's parks and boulevards system, since edited and expanded to include more Roanoke Park specific information.
Pete Browne followed with a brief history of Roanoke Park. “The Park’s 36.04 acres was acquired by the city in 1902, 1906 and 1909. This park (was a) beautiful preservation of wooded ravines lined with rugged cliffs in the western section of the City.
It was entirely acquired by deeds of gift from the South Highland Land and Development Company and others who had caught the spirit of conserving nature’s beauty before it became marred and of the resulting enhancement in value of nearby property.”
Today’s walk in Roanoke Park revealed that age has taken its toll. The wooded ravines have lost their trees and the rugged cliffs have become hidden by invasive plants. Nature's beauty has become marred. The park is not enhancing the value of our neighborhood properties as much as it could nor is it as inviting as it could be.
Kite’s Bush Whackers back at it for the 3rd time on May 8, 2010.