Garden tour, picnic: treats for the heat

Garden tour, picnic: treats for the heat

By Jon Rand

As the weather gets hotter, it’s full steam ahead for the Ward Parkway Homes Association. Two of our most popular events — the Garden Tour and 4th of July Picnic — are just around the corner.

Most people living or passing through our neighborhood cannot help but notice the exquisite care given to so many lawns and gardens. But they perhaps do not realize that some of these gardens are among the city’s most impressive.

That is why we showcase some of our beautiful gardens every two years. This year’s tour is free and open to the public Sunday, June 14, from 1–4 p.m.

Seven hosts, all located within easy walking distance of each other, have graciously agreed to show their gardens, serve snacks, answer questions and offer advice upon request.

The hosts and their addresses will be listed on fliers being delivered to all WPHA households and area businesses, including the Soil Service at 7125 Troost.
Just a few weeks later, WPHA will be host to the annual Fourth of July picnic, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Hale Cook School on 73rd Street between Jefferson and Pennsylvania.

This has been for decades one of the neighborhood’s most popular events.
Sluggerr, the Royals’ mascot, will return as a special guest to lead the youngsters in their traditional bicycle parade and entertain with his delightful antics.

There will be prizes for the best decorated bikes, as well as a raffle for everybody. The picnic also will feature games, face painting and an appearance by Kansas City fire fighters, who will offer the youngsters a hosing down and chance to sit behind the wheel of a truck.

WPHA will provide grilled brisket from McGonigle’s Market, hot dogs, condiments and bottled water. Neighbors are invited to bring side dishes.

WPHA board members testify on ordinance to regulate noise in city

Partly because of loud music blasting from bars, including those in the vicinity of Wornall Road and 75th Street, the Kansas City Council in early May voted to revise its ordinance regulating noise at commercial and residential properties.

Bert Malone, deputy director of the Kansas City Health Department, in testimony before the Council’s Committee on Neighborhoods, Housing and Healthy Communities, identified excessive noise as a “public health problem.”

After hearing from Malone and residents, including Maureen Hardy and Jon Rand of the WPHA board, the committee voted unanimously to send the ordinance to the full Council with recommendation for passage. The Council voted to pass it the next day.

Malone explained that excessive noise causes undue stress for residents, potentially contributing to heart disease. He also cited extreme frustration of residents kept up at night.

He reported that his department received 178 noise complaints in 2014 and receives between 125 and 180 in any given year. Most complaints are neighbor to neighbor.

The previous ordinance, Malone explained, had become out of date because of changes in development and technology. While bar areas formerly were relatively separate from residential neighborhoods, they now are often on top of each other, particularly downtown and in Waldo. Many downtown commercial buildings that once sat vacant after business hours have been turned into apartments and condominiums.

More sophisticated testing equipment, Malone explained, will give city inspectors better tools to measure both high and low-frequency noises.

Also, the current ordinance was passed before smoking bans inside city bars and restaurants, which prompted additions of outdoor decks featuring loud music.
Malone, who has helped mediate problems between bar owners and residents in Waldo, asked to hear from community representatives who could lend their perspectives to the proposal.

Hardy testified that after a meeting between Waldo residents and bar owners two years ago, most owners agreed to fix the problem. Chris and Andy Lewellen, owners of two popular spots, spent thousands of dollars adjusting the sound for the outdoor deck of The Well.

However, Hardy added, some other bars continue to emit excessive noise that can be heard from her home a few blocks away. Neighbors often call her to complain.
She said. “A lot of people call me and say, ‘We have children who need to get up and go to school in the morning and it’s 11o’clock.'”

Rand suggested that the uncooperative bars, if only a minority, made the revised ordinance necessary. He said that, in addition to loud music, neighbors have complained about noise from bottles being smashed into dumpsters after closing time and party buses standing in front of homes.

Malone added that although the revised ordinance spells out an enforcement process, he would prefer to first attempt mediation to resolve complaints.

“We will go out and say, ‘Do you realize what you’re doing? Here’s what you can do to comply,'” he said. “We will not order a citation until the second complaint within thirty days.”

Noise complaints, from loud music to barking dogs, can be directed to 311, the city’s action line. Residents seeking immediate action can call 911.

“Hopefully,” Malone said, “this will lead to a more peaceful environment.”

Neighborhood crime takes a welcome drop with spring’s arrival

By Jon Rand

Police reports of crime within WPHA boundaries, which saw a disturbing increase over the winter, have since declined dramatically.

Just two crimes were reported in April, the latest month for which statistics were available at the May meeting of the Community Police Action Committee. CPAC meets the second Tuesday of each month at the Southtown Council offices at 6814 Troost.

The meetings, conducted by KCPD Sergeant James Pearce, allow residents to meet with police to gather crime reports, ask questions and solicit advice on preventing crime. Officers of private security companies also attend.

For April, WPHA experienced one report of stealing, in which a relative of the resident was found responsible, and a stolen van that was taken on Summit street when the keys were left inside. Also, a post on eNeighbors reports auto break-ins during May.

WPHA security patrol membership is a bargain for $50 a year, and residents are reminded to call 911 when they spot any suspicious behavior, or even annoyances such as aggressive solicitations.