Neighbors, City Meet to Discuss New Park at KCIR Site

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The City of Kansas City intends to transform the current site of Kansas City International Raceway into a city park, and on Thursday night neighbors of the property shared their ideas for the new park with city officials.

After months of negotiations, the city reached a deal with the track's owners to purchase the 93 acres at 82nd and Noland Road for around $1.5 million. On Thursday night, around 40 people attended a public meeting at the Oakwood Baptist Church to share their ideas for the new park.

Rianna Deselich had a list of ideas to share with KCMO Parks and Recreation officials.

"I'd like to see us be able to utilize the the Little Blue River that runs throught the park. I'd like some features where children will be alble to play in the park," said Deselich.

Tom McKraig says that he has lived in the area around the racetrack for 28 years, and that it's time for a change in the neighborhood.

"(The park would)be a good amenity to have for this area," said McKraig. "Tieing that back with the Little Blue Trace trail and hopefully with the railroad corridor, I think it's an ideal spot."

The sale of the track to the city generated a great deal of controversy, but supporters of the track who fought hard to keep it in operation were a no-show on Thursday night. At least one track supporter, Larry O'Donnell, says that he likes the idea of a new park even better, though.

"A lot of people used (the race track). It did bring business to the area. They don't have an alternative," said O'Donnell. "In my mind, the park far outweisghts that."

City officials say that they hope to have a master plan for the park in place by next summer.

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