In Kansas City, this new park with a restored wetland boosts flood resilience, biodiversity, quality of life, & neighborhood revitalization

Tucked into south-central Kansas City, Missouri, five neighborhoods and their 10,000 residents make up an area known as Marlborough.

Over the last decade, Marlborough has undergone a big revitalization.

Several years ago, in partnership with Marlborough Community Coalition (MCC), U-Haul, Heartland Conservation Alliance, the City of Kansas City—plus other local stakeholders—The Conservation Fund helped secure vital flood control functions through the development of Marlborough Terrace.

The focal point of that project is a restored wetland basin that can capture 12 million gallons of stormwater.

This effort not only helped protect the area from floodwaters and improved water safety, but also led to the creation of one of the area’s biggest and most active green spaces in Marlborough.

Today, residents and visitors enjoy Marlborough Terrace, boasting 10 acres of community gathering space, creative playground amenities including a zip-line, and a walking path connecting two additional green spaces along with gardens full of native plants.

Community-led programs help residents learn to maintain green infrastructure as well as train “block ambassadors” focused on neighborhood safety.

These growing community spaces sit in sharp contrast to the days when Marlborough experienced city redlining and general neglect: from trash dumping and water quality issues such as sewer and storm flooding, to a need for more recreational green spaces.

In 2009, the Marlborough Community Coalition (MCC) formed a vehicle to voice local concerns and initiatives with a focus on fostering community, developing green spaces and encouraging the arts.

Fast forward to today, and Marlborough Terrace is thriving.

Activities this summer have included the first block party of the season, weeding at the Monarch Garden (a stopover for monarch butterfly migration), neighborhood cleanups and even early morning yoga.

It is this same local, collective action that helped to recently form the Kansas City Community Land Trust (KCCLT) (formerly the Marlborough Community Land Trust).

Supported by philanthropic efforts, the goal of the KCCLT is to buy dilapidated houses, renovate them and sell them at a discounted, affordable price—building a stronger community.

As part of The Conservation Fund’s Parks with Purpose program, Marlborough is an example of our successful efforts to empower localities to redevelop green spaces, address local social equity issues and create opportunities for green jobs.

Photo of Marlborough Terrace courtesy of The Conservation Fund.

See Parks with Purpose website.

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