Plans in the works to transform Barney Allis Plaza into a playground for kids and adults

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Barney Allis Plaza in downtown KC will soon be "Barney's Backyard." That's according to the Kansas City Council.

The plan is to fill the rarely used space with food trucks, live music, sports, and a playground for kids and adults alike.

"They've gotten used to bringing their own things, they usually bring a football or a soccer ball and our girls get real creative and bring things to make," said  Mildred Pope, a teacher at Crossroads Academy.

Pope says they use Barney Allis Plaza for recess...but it's lacking when it comes to things to do.

"We have been trying to figure out how we can get a playground downtown," added Pope.

Good news for pope and her students -- Thursday, city council approved the $250,000 the city trust has allocated from the Bronco Buster statue -- to create a new hangout spot for people of all ages in the underutilized spot.

"Many years ago, many contributions were made to maintain the upkeep of the statue, and so there's a pretty large fund that's sitting there with a lot of money in it over the last few decades and so the city trust members, which are citizens, decided to be creative and use those funds to fix up Barney Allis Plaza," said Councilman Scott Taylor, who says they're trying to make the plaza more attractive to many more people.

"This will provide the funding to start the process to bring in the amenities so that people want to hang out like in places in NYC where you can just take a few minutes and read the paper or visit with somebody," Councilman Taylor adds.

Erik Wullschleger, the director of LiveKC, says it's a perfect location.

"You see a space like this and it could be this great town square where young people can get together and play sports or just people in general can gather and hang out," Wullschleger said.

Luke Wade, the owner of KC Crew Rec Sports, says this space will also be used for leisure sports.

"We're going to be doing bocce ball, badminton, and croquet in the leagues, but we're also going to have different activities like bags and washers, and some really cool ideas to bring to this space as well for the public," said Wade.

"We have a lot of great parks throughout the city, but downtown we could use a central location, an urban oasis," Councilman Taylor said.

LiveKC is having a kickoff event June 5th -- anyone in the community is welcome to come out and see sketches so you can give feedback on what you would like to see here.

Planning is already in the works, and Councilman Taylor says you could start seeing benefits as early as this summer.

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