Parks Department personnel inspect the spring area in 2012.Have you seen the Coleman Highlands Spring? Before park cleanup efforts were begun in 2010 you would have had to crouch and duck under tangles of shrub honeysuckle and wild grape vines to discover the source of water coming down the hill north of Karnes, south of the Coleman Highlands neighborhood. Park cleanup efforts and the construction of the Bindle Byway Trail have made it much more accessible. Today arguably the park's most peaceful park bench sits just off the trail, within view of the spring source.
But the potential for an even higher quality park amenity was still unrealized. Despite lots of shrub honeysuckle plants having been removed, a great many remained. And by and large the ground was covered with a carpet of non-native invasive wintercreeper.
Discussions between the Parks department, Missouri Department of Conservation, and Roanoke Park volunteers began in 2012 to imagine realizing the potential of the area by replacing the non-native plants with natives and making the spring and the pool at the bottom of the hill more accessible.
Our champion persimmon tree. Biggest in the metro area.Another unique element in the area was discovered as part of the 2012 Tree Inventory. What has been verified by Powell Gardens as the largest native Persimmon tree in the metro area sits right next to the little watercourse of spring water.
Discussions continued but the plans remained rather ill defined until...
The Coleman Highlands Spring area plan. Click for a blowup and more information.This past winter the Roanoke Park Conservancy put together a proposal and applied for an Urban Conservation Grant from the Missouri Department of Conservation. As announced at or party at Prospero's Uptown Books in March, We won the grant! As a result, $3,500 from MDC will be combined with $1,500 of your donations, a couple hundred volunteer hours, and contributions from the Parks Department and ERTA to make the spring easier to visit, and more valuable to wildlife.
Clearing the area of shrub honeysuckle has mostly been completed. Next up is killing the carpet of non-native wintercreeper. The city is currently undertaking repairs to the sewer line running underneath part of the area at the bottom of the hill - to make sure we don't have a hole in the bottom of the bucket. Then the parks department will help us constuct a berm to concentrate and relocate the wetland pool at the bottom of the hill. All of this activity is to prep the area for a springtime planting event where over 770 native plant plugs will be installed. (You're invited.)
We hope to make it even better, but at a minimum the Colemand Highlands Spring project will include:
See the Spring Proposal Handout for more info and check back for more details.
Roanoke Park is an important historical Kansas City asset. Its value is greatest to its closest residents. Time and neglect have taken a toll on our neighborhood park. The wooded ravines have lost important trees and the rugged cliffs have become hidden by invasive plants. The park's beauty has become marred. Comparing old photos with more recent ones confirms that the park is not as enticing as it once was.Even when Kansas City was not in such dire financial straits, city resources for the park have been sparse. Many neighborhood parks are being recognized for their value as neighborhood assets and sanctuaries of peacefulness in urban areas. This trend is sweeping the nation and the globe as neighborhood groups join together to support local parks that have suffered from urban decay and government neglect.Our efforts on behalf of Roanoke Park are a public/private partnership initiative to honor the history and plant the future of Roanoke Park. We do this for the betterment of our city, and especially the neighborhoods that share Roanoke Park.
Stay informed about Roanoke Park improvement efforts!