LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — An investigation is underway after a Lee’s Summit family said it was discriminated against at the city’s waterpark.
Lee’s Summit Mayor Bill Baird also weighed in on what happened Saturday.
“Unfortunately, statements were made by a Parks and Recreation manager at Summit Waves that were inappropriate and insensitive,” Baird said in a statement.
The Evans family, including their two teenagers, said they’d paid $2,000 to host a large birthday bash for their two teenagers this weekend at Summit Waves, a popular water park.
However, when they showed up for Saturday’s party, pool managers wouldn’t allow them inside the park, and canceled the party. Water park directors told the family they were uncomfortable with the gathering.
Chris Evans, the two teenagers’ father, complained to Lee’s Summit city officials this happened because his family is African-American.
“Get to the door and they say ‘you can’t come in. You can’t can’t swim. You can’t enjoy this swimming pool,'” Evans said.
“It appears to have been canceled simply because the park staff was uncomfortable with a group of Black teenagers having a pool party ot enjoy the end of the summer,” he continued.
A statement from the City of Lee’s Summit released Monday said the family advertised the party on social media, and about 500 people showed up for the party, which is twice the number Summit Waives said it agreed to for the event.
Mayor Baird said he asked the city’s Parks and Recreation department to come up with a process that could have alleviated safety concerns with the large group that showed up for the party as it looks into what happened.
Baird said he also asked the department to review its approach to communicating and interacting with people using the city’s parks so everyone is treated with dignity and respect.
“We must intentionally embrace a culture that is welcoming and inclusive, and we must continually denounce any urge or impulse to exclude. I want to expressly denounce comments posted by a Lee’s Summit Parks and Recreation employee on social media. The comments were appalling and not condoned by Parks and Recreation, and are inconsistent with the culture I know the City of Lee’s Summit strives to reflect,” Baird said.
The mayor also asked Lee’s Summit Parks and Rec to work with the City’s Diversity and Inclusion Commission to elevate its commitment to inclusion within our parks system.
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