KANSAS CITY, Mo.– A Kansas City activist is trying to spark hope in inner city youth, proposing to build a skate park, bowling alley and water park.
He believes this will help curb crime by giving kids something to do.
Pat Clarke hopes he can bring his vision to life on a vacant parcel of land along Emanuel Cleaver II Boulevard near Elmwood Avenue.
As the city continues to expand, he said this area is seemingly forgotten.
“They’re building a hotel downtown. Two more hotels over near the Plaza. Man, $400 million for a street car that isn’t even coming through here? What exactly do we have to do?” Clarke said.
He said he’s watched the amenities slowly leave his east Kansas City neighborhood — and not return.
Now, he’s tired of waiting.
“Our kids deserve to have the same opportunities as anybody else,” he said. “Some places are closed probably because we helped close them. But that doesn’t mean we don’t deserve to have another bowling alley around here. That doesn’t mean we don’t deserve to have another skate park.”
Clarke said the lack of opportunities is a direct correlation to the crime and violence happening on a daily basis, highlighting the Plaza, located a little over a mile away from his proposed park.
He said the area has become a hang-out spot for teens because they have nowhere else to go.
“When we were younger, we had things to do on every corner almost,” KC native Jesse Love said. “Now it’s selected areas, opportunities to service the youth, but it’s not enough.”
Clarke said he has big dreams for the community and hopes he can garner the necessary support.
“This is going to be a great thing for this community, and it’s going to happen. The only thing about it is when,” he said.
A community meeting regarding the proposal and area crime is scheduled Monday, Nov. 18 at the Brush Creek Community Center.