Man demolishes his childhood home to clear space for urban core golf course

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A man tore down his childhood home Monday to make way for a golf course in the heart of the urban core.

A blighted city block near 41st Street and Wayne Avenue is being transformed into an activity center for kids.

The pitch-and-putt golf course has been 25 years in the making. That’s how long it’s taken Chris Harris to acquire each individual lot on the block.

The last vacant house standing, the home Harris grew up in, faced a wrecking crew Monday to clear space for another green and six more tees at what’s become the Harris Park Sports and Activity Center.

Through a partnership with Big Brothers, Big Sisters and The First Tee of Greater Kansas City, Harris’ dream of providing urban core kids a place to learn golf has become a reality.

“I just felt like in the neighborhood, I didn’t have the opportunity to get up, come outside and play the game of golf,” Harris said.

“I really do believe that if we have the opportunity in the neighborhood, there will be a lot more people playing the game of golf. I think golf is accessible to us as well. My goal is to make sure I come out here and take care of this golf course make it beautiful. Make the beautification that helps the neighborhood, gives the kids another opportunity to get scholarships. It can open so many other doors along with other sports.”

Harris says his goal was to make the course as nice as any on the PGA tour, and many say he’s succeeded.

Groups like the Kansas City Vette Ryders have helped raise money for the project, but Harris takes it upon himself to maintain the grounds, picking up trash and cutting grass every week.

In another month or so, children and adults are expected to be a common sight on this course, learning the basics of a sport that may help transform their lives.

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