‘Cliff Drive is a landfill’: KC man hopes video of trashy scenic byway will get leaders to act

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A man who lives in Kansas City’s Historic Northeast is highlighting the trash issue on Cliff Drive.

Cliff Drive, a Missouri Scenic Byway that runs through Kessler Park, is filled with trash. City officials with Parks and Recreation said it’s an ongoing issue.

“I live near Cliff Drive, and I use it a lot,” said John Bordeau, who made a video to show others the KC road. “The conditions are really sad, and I wanted to raise awareness about what’s going on out there. It’s been a problem for many years. People say it’s getting worse.”

Bordeau hopes the video will catch the attention of Kansas City leaders and elected officials. Cliff Drive is already on the radar of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.

“Cliff Drive is a long, long-standing issue,” said Roosevelt Lyons, deputy operations director for Parks and Recreation. “Lots of illegal dumping, which is a citywide issue, and also some issues with homeless camps.”

No one is allowed to camp in KC’s parks, per city code. Lyons said his department is working with the Neighborhood division and with KCPD to curb the issues that happen in Cliff Drive.

But it’s still a challenge.

“What you have on Cliff Drive is a very steep cliff, places where our staff can’t actually reach,” Lyons said. “Those who do the illegal dumping know where those locations are, and they’re really good at finding really hard-to-reach locations that we don’t have the equipment to get to.”

But the city is trying to find a solution to keep trash from coming into the the park.

One of the city’s four park rangers spends time at Cliff Drive every day. Boulders block access to the roads, and the city tries to put on events to keep the park busy and deter illegal activity.

“We’re looking at hiring additional temporary staff so we can go out there and help with the cleanup,” Lyons said.

Kansas City Parks and Recreations said people who see dumping and other illegal activity on Cliff Drive should call the city’s 311 line.

“The message is we need to get together and work on this,” Bordeau said.



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