In the 1930s, the Marlborough community in south-central Kansas City, Missouri, was booming. New housing developments, schools and a streetcar line to downtown made it a desirable place to settle down. But just 20 years later, Marlborough would suffer significant decline, spurred by segregation laws that divided the area, disadvantaging the predominately African-American neighborhoods east of Troost Avenue. Marlborough has been slow to recover ever since, and poor rental housing stock, trash dumping, crime and lack of a strong business base have distressed the community.

Marlborough has seen positive progress over the past decade. The City of Kansas City, Missouri, has invested close to $70 million in storm water, street and sidewalk infrastructure in Marlborough, including raingardens, bioswales and large-scale storm water detention facilities that will address major flooding and water quality issues in the community.

And in 2013, the Marlborough Community Coalition completed the Catalyst Plan, which identifies and prioritizes improvements for the five neighborhoods in Marlborough and lays out an action plan for implementation. The Catalyst Plan has stimulated community revitalization through additional public green space, the redevelopment of a vacant school and coalition capacity-building efforts.


Troost St Project 5
Marlborough Community Coalition (MCC) members. From left to right: Brenda Thomas, Diane Herschberger, Michelle and Dale Collins 

OUR ROLE

Building on the city’s infrastructure investments and the Marlborough Community Coalition’s Catalyst Plan, The Conservation Fund and U-Haul partnered with Heartland Conservation Alliance, the Marlborough Community Coalition, the City of Kansas City, Missouri, and other local stakeholders to develop public green space around a wetland basin built by the city, which will include community gathering space, playground areas, an outdoor amphitheater, recreational opportunities and native gardens, all designed with extensive input from the Marlborough community. Our efforts also provide workforce training opportunities for residents and will generate additional economic investment within walking distance from the green space.

Why This Project Matters

We believe green spaces are the cornerstones of vibrant urban communities. In Marlborough, green spaces will offer safer places for children to play, cleaner air and water, better resilience to floods, improved public health and opportunities for green jobs. Equally important, a revitalized Marlborough has the potential to unite people of all walks of life, demonstrating it can heal from the wounds of the past.

Preliminary design for Marlborough: Nature + Play:

81stTroost NE bird view no skatepark



Watch Community leaders Discuss the Benefits of Green Space in The Marlborough Neighborhood



partners

U-Haul
Heartland Conservation Alliance
Marlborough Community Coalition
KC Water
Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department
Down to Earth Services
Vireo
StoneLion Puppet Theatre
Charlotte Street Foundation

Learn More



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Parks with Purpose in Kansas City

Parks with Purpose in Kansas City

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