Most of the year, Washington Square Park in Kansas City is “a sanctuary for birds and squirrels,” writes Lynn Horsley. “For a few days each year, it is filled with people as the start and end point for the Kansas City Marathon and as a main staging area for Irish Fest. But most days, it’s woefully underused and…just a place to walk through...”
According to Horsely’s article, the city’s parks board has begun the process of rethinking the space by approving a $49,000 contract with Minneapolis-based Coen + Partners.
In a separate article, Rob Roberts provides more background on the city’s initial efforts to revamp the park. “Two years ago, the [the Kansas City parks and Recreation Department], in collaboration with the Downtown Council of Kansas City's Green Space Committee, hired the Kansas City Design Center to generate a vision study for green and civic spaces within the Greater Downtown Area Plan boundaries.” That study has involved graduate students from Kansas University and Kansas State, and will result in a master plan.
“Meanwhile, Union Station has engaged VanTrust Real Estate LLC to study development options for 5 acres of surface parking it owns between the northern edge of Washington Square Park and the Union Station rail yard.” The General Services Administration will soon relocate 900 employees to a location adjacent to Union Station, which is driving some of the incentive to renovate the park.