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Kansas City Planning to Revamp Washington Square Park

Several planning efforts are in the process to rethink Washington Square Park in Downtown Kansas City. In an already bustling part of Downtown, stakeholders are considering the changes ahead of a forthcoming influx of daytime working population.
March 20, 2014, 2pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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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.

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Published on Wednesday, March 19, 2014 in Kansas City Star
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