Piles of trash and illegal dumping continue to be a problem at Kansas City park

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Trash continues to pile up in an Old Northeast neighborhood.

Now, city leaders and neighbors are coming together to put an end to the long running issue at Kessler Park on Cliff Drive.

“People come into the neighborhood to dump stuff because they know it is a large and open area. So the consistency of it, constantly coming, and for staff members cleaning it up three times a week, and go back out there Monday and it’s right back out there — it’s hard,” Roosevelt Lyons, deputy director of operations at Kansas City Parks and Rec, said.

Some people call Kessler Park a hidden gem in the city.

From the winding road lined with trees, secret water falls and open areas, the trash isn’t always visible from the street. But people in the area say it isn’t hard to find.

“Most of it is clothing. You find all kinds of stuff. You find purses, you find needles, and things that look like they were stolen. You name it, you can find it down here,” concerned neighbor John Bordeau said.

Bordeau said he’s been living near the area for three years. In that time, he’s cleaned a dumpster’s worth of trash from the park.

He said besides the illegal dumping, abandoned homeless camps have been leaving mountains of trash behind.

Volunteers like Bordeau and other neighbors have been using their spare time to clean-up.

But Bordeau said no matter how much they work, they can’t seem to get a handle on the mounting mess.

“You don’t ever solve the problem. You just temporarily clean it up, and then folks come back into the woods and leave all this stuff again,” he said.

KC Parks and Rec ensures they’re doing everything in their power to keep the park safe and clean for everyone, including hiring a contractor to clean up the abandoned camps.

But they said they can’t do it alone.

“We’re hoping that more eyes and more engagement from neighborhood and volunteers there will kind of keep up and alleviate some of that problem going forward,” Lyons said.

The Kansas City Neighborhood Department handles illegal dumping issues. They are warning people about the consequences of illegally dumping, which could lead to fines and even court.

The Parks and Rec Department has hired multiple park rangers to help monitor the park regularly in the coming weeks.

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