KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Children on KC's west side now have a safe place to play, and their parents can rest easy.
“It feels great! It`s been about two years since the conception, fundraising, and now the actual construction being completed, so it feels tremendous,” said Ricky Olivares, the youth athletics director at the Guadalupe Center.
Thursday was the grand opening of the Guadalupe Center's new recreation center and park, and the entire community was invited to celebrate.
“We took some playground area and vacant space that the middle school currently had, and we converted that into a basketball court and a couple 'futsal' courts with a walking trail. So if mom and dad bring kids to play basketball or soccer, then they can walk around the trail, still keeping an eye on the kids,” Olivares said.
All of those amenities connect with a spray park and the new rec center.
Now local families have a dedicated space to have fun and be safe.
“We have more places to use now, and these facilities really help us,” said Miguel Franco, who uses the Guadalupe Center. “I’m actually a person who plays in the street a lot, and I have to watch out for moving cars. And sometimes things happen in the street, and it can get bad. So having a place like this where it`s much safer and it`s more community-like, a family environment, it makes me feel safer to play, and it`s just better to have.”
Previously, if neighborhood kids wanted to go to a green space, they had to cross a couple busy, dangerous intersections.
“In this part of the neighborhood, in the west side of Kansas City, we`re kind of landlocked between a lot of major intersections, and there is no true dedicated green space for the kids,” Olivares added.
“Every kid should have this in their neighborhood whether it`s inner city or a suburb,” parent Marcos Murguia said.
“Over the last several years, we have really invested in our Club KC program, and this will be one of the locations where kids will have a safe place to go on Friday or Saturday night and a lot of activities,” KC Councilman Scott Taylor said.
The new recreation park is within walking distance for many families.
“It means a lot for my community. I was born and raised in this community. I've been here more than 30 years, and I've seen it grow,” Murguia said.
Starting next week, the Guadalupe Center's new facility will have hours of operation for the community, and it will be open to the general public.