KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City’s South Loop Highway will have a massive urban park on it by the time the World Cup comes to town in 2026, if city partners can get the necessary funding for the proposed $200 million project.
Kansas City has downtown and Midtown and the Crossroads, but in between there’s the South Loop of the I-670. Now there’s a proposal to bridge the divide. Partners, the City of Kansas City, Downtown Council and Port KC shared renderings Tuesday from designers of the $200 million project.
“Putting a park on top of a highway is not something you hear about every day. So to be able to have a way to a creative solution to a very concrete area is something I think people are really excited about,” Kansas City spokesperson Sherae Honeycutt said.
One proposal puts the bigger park on the west side of Main Street, the second on the other side of Main.
“You want the park to have very broad appeal. Part of what we’ve done so far is solicit feedback of what’s going to go in the park, and the next steps are how are we going to combine those things,” Nathan Elliott, Principal, OJB Landscape Architecture, said.
Ideas submitted range from performance pavilions to cafes and children’s play areas. But what it would definitely add to Kansas City’s downtown core is green space.
“I think the big thing to us is the dog have somewhere to go play and my wife can go sit on a park bench and get out of that urban feeling development,” Alan Marks, a downtown resident, said.
At the presentation Tuesday people heard what it takes to build a park on top of a highway. They’d extend what’s now a short tunnel under the convention center from Wyandotte to Grand and divide the highway with a wall supporting the structure.
So far only roughly $45 million of the projected $200 million has been raised. To finish by the goal of the World Cup in 2026, project insiders say construction would have start in the spring of 2024.
“It is a lofty goal but it’s something that we are definitely willing to take on and we believe will be beneficial to downtown so its worthy of all our work,” Honeycutt said.
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With the street divisions, the parks could be viewed separate parks. If they don’t have all the funding in time ,one option could be to build only part of it now. A master plan is expected back this summer incorporating feedback they heard Tuesday.