KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Kaw Point Park is usually a calm place. However, over the past few weeks, neighbors say it’s become anything but.
There have been burnouts, donuts and hundreds of people hanging out and drinking at illegal sideshows.
Leo Eilts lives in Strawberry Hill and, for the past 15 years, has enjoyed cycling his electric bike around the park.
“It’s was a family-oriented place. It was kind of a quiet place,” Eilts said. “You’d see a lot of families. You’d see musicians hanging out. People fishing off the confluence out here. It was a much more family-oriented atmosphere.”
He said on his rides lately it’s been a much different scene once the sun goes down. He can hear the screaming of tires from his house.
“It’s frankly a little scary,” Eilts said. “I’m a full-grown adult male, and to be honest with you, I don’t like hanging around here all that much when this happens.”
He said sometimes there are nearly 600 people filling the parking lots surrounding the park.
“Sometimes the spectators are no more than 20 or 30 feet away from this,” Eilts said. “These guys are not professionals and a car being driven that way can get away really easy. With all the humanity spread around it — men, women and children alike — it could be a really bad result.”
The Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Department agrees.
Capt. Kyle Harvey said the park is open 24 hours because of the lookout, but sideshows like this are against the law.
“We’re working with KCKPD, Parks & Rec and other stakeholders to figure out a best way to close the park overnight while allowing the fire department and other stakeholders to be able to have access to the park in case of emergencies,” Harvey said.
Eilts hopes no one gets hurt, and his neighborhood can be calm once again.
“The park is still a beautiful place where people can gather as families and small groups, and I would really like to see it used that way more often,” Eilts said. “It would do my heart good.”
Harvey said if you are in the park and you see an illegal gathering, stay back and do not confront anyone. Call the sheriff’s department, and they will be able to help.