(Kansas City, Mo.) – Relentless rain during the summer of 2017 sent Indian Creek surging over its banks at 103rd and Wornall in south Kansas City. The water flooded Coach’s Bar & Grill and nearly everything around it.
Center Middle School is a few blocks to the east. Many of the students and teachers have experienced flooding.
“In our area we’ve had a lot of flooding and the kids kind of understand and talk about it because their houses get flooded or they know someone who had something happen to them,” said Center Middle School teacher Bonnie Stafford.
Coach’s and the surrounding buildings will be torn down over the summer and replaced with open space dedicated to the passage of floodwaters.
For a class assignment the students were asked to imagine what could be built in that area.
Ellie, a 6th grader, has grand plans. “There’d be a small slide, a little rope climb jungle gym. There’d be a small zip line where it has a small seat and goes down. I’ve seen that at a lot of parks and it’s very entertaining to kids.”
KC Water Stormwater Engineer Diana Johnson and Senior Planner Richard Allen from KC Parks & Recreation visited the class to explain the power of floodwaters and what it takes to create a park.
“Whenever we reach out to the kids I think it’s a great opportunity to first teach them the processes that you sometimes go through in developing a park,” said Allen. “Also, I think it gives them some ownership, some involvement in the development of a park.”
“I love the energy the kids have. If you can put a hands-on approach to what they learned in the classroom, then you get something great. They take what they learned about plantings and grasses and development and they go and they make some absolutely wonderful things happen,” said Johnson.
The students displayed their ideas at their school’s science fair. There’s no guarantee their designs will become reality, but their teacher is thrilled someone asked the students for their input.
“I think so often we forget to include kids in community matters and the important decisions that happen here, but it’s their community too,” said Stafford. “So I just hope that with their creations they feel like they have a voice in what could happen in that area and they feel good about that.”
For more information, please contact Brooke Givens, Communications and Outreach Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 816-513-0284.
KC Water maintains and operates water treatment and distribution systems, stormwater management systems, and wastewater collection and treatment systems for residential and business customers in Kansas City and for wholesale customers in the Kansas City area. KC Water is primarily funded by fees charged to customers based on their use or impacts on the three utility systems.