Urbanworks is an opportunity at the very least. An opportunity to continue the type of community engagement that we have been doing. An opportunity to share with others some of our experiences and to start creating new ones. An opportunity to teach, guide and mentor youth.
We have been fortunate enough to have worked in the 5 neighborhoods of the Grandview Corridor in downtown Kansas City, Kansas. For the last seven and a half years we have worked with residents and volunteers to create engagement projects in each neighborhood. Creating neutral spaces for people to gather, and get to know one another. To talk about their ideas and what the concerns are for their neighborhoods.
We have been able to use different types of engagement tools such as art classes, ceramics, and a sculpture park to help make the arts accessible to all members of our community and with all abilities. We built a community garden and an urban farm where elementary school children helped to grow food for their neighbors and the school. Installed park enhancements like trees, flowers, benches and made all assets ADA accessible. Provided programming for the park like soccer clinics, walking clubs, and art classes. And we helped launch the first coffee shop in our downtown in 30 years. The Cafe’ has become a central gathering space for downtown meetings, special events, with friendly service and great coffee.
Those are some of our past experiences from which we learned a great deal. Now we are ready for new challenges and new experiences. We will be working in new communities but realize there is still much to do in our own community. One of the first projects we hope to start soon is the acquisition of a 1940’s Conoco Station. The goal is to restore the original look of the station, with liberties of course, and then begin on the interior. Next year we hope to begin programming out of the space and eventually put in a greenhouse. But first things first, it’s time to sign some contracts.