September is the time of year when the Ward Parkway Homes Association sends out our yearly membership mailing. The mailing includes lots of important information about the coming year. This year is no exception. You should receive your mailing by mid-September. Check your mail for this important information.
While the WPHA sends the membership mailing information every year, this year we are taking a little different approach. First, we are formalizing all new and renewing membership activities into a more organized 2020 WPHA Membership Drive!
The Membership Drive kicks off with the mailing. Here’s what you’ll find inside:
The second part of the 2020 WPHA Membership Drive is our involvement in the Waldo Fall Festival on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. Members of the WPHA Board of Directors as well as volunteers will staff a booth all day. We will be there to any questions you may have about the Ward Parkway Homes Association. Stop by and say hi!
Finally, the Membership Drive culminates at our fall WPHA Neighborhood Night Out on Sunday, Sept. 29, from 4 to 7 p.m. at District. Pour House + Kitchen. As always, beverages and nibbles will be provided, along with door prizes. Watch for a flyer delivered to your door with all the details.
The WPHA hopes to continue to provide the level of interaction and community engagement requested by our residents. A survey was conducted in 2018 and we took your feedback to heart. The WPHA strives to provide the right level of family-friendly activities alongside activities for grownups only. We can’t wait to show you what we have in store for 2020!
Due to the increase of suspicious activity in our area in late August, our KCPD security patrol added a few extra shifts to offer more coverage.
The security patrol has also begun a month-long traffic enforcement effort several times a week at different locations where we have complaints. During the first day, the officer stopped seven cars and issued 10 tickets and one warning.
Also during August, a KCPD security patrol officer observed the back door ajar on a house where the resident had requested our vacation house watch service. Two officers checked the house to make sure everything was normal. Upon being contacted afterwards by the security patrol, here’s what the homeowner had to say:
“Thank you! The alarm company called me because the alarm went off when the door was opened. After the door was closed, I remotely locked it and re-secured the alarm system. I appreciate the heads up!”
Many Jackson County residents are facing dramatic increases in property tax assessments this year, including in the Ward Parkway Homes Association. Thousands of people have filed formal appeals of their assessments, and thousands more requested informal reviews.
On behalf of our residents, the Ward Parkway Homes Association sent a letter to the following local leaders on Aug. 8, 2019, expressing serious concerns about the property reassessment process.
The WPHA will share with our residents any feedback we receive.
Gaye Tillotson is a long-serving Ward Parkway Homes Association Board member and treasurer. Here’s what she has to say about her 40 years in the neighborhood:
“My husband, Terry, and I have lived on West 72nd Street since October of 1979. We fell in love with the neighborhood and the house and enjoyed raising our son in this family-oriented area. I didn’t work until he was two and then only at night so I was home with him during the day. There were lots of mothers at home on the block, so regardless of where he landed, someone was always watching. My son never lacked for a playmate and his Dad spent lots of time playing catch with all the neighborhood kids. Our neighbors were our friends.
Our home was built by Napoleon Dible (around 1940), as were lots of homes in this area. We have done all the usual projects involving “upkeep” and “improvements” externally and internally. When we moved in, we were the youngsters on the block, and now we are the oldsters. We love our home and still love the neighborhood.
My husband is now retired from the federal government and I am still working but only part time. Terry spends his time in the yard, doing projects around the house or playing golf. I love to read, paint and do handwork. We both love to watch our Royals!”
Alex Gill has lived on Jefferson Street for the last five years and serves on the WPHA Membership Committee. Here’s how he answered our resident profile questions:
Why did you choose to live in this neighborhood? My wife and I were living in an apartment on the Plaza and wanted to start a family. We knew we wanted to stay within KCMO city limits, and this area of town just spoke to us!
Do any family members or pets live with you? My wife, Caroline, our 18-month-old daughter, Lily, and our dog, Trudy.
Occupation (past or present)? Both Caroline and I work at Children’s Mercy (Hospital Hill) and love it!
How do you like to spend your free time? We truly enjoy staying local….like taking Lily and Trudy on neighborhood walks and taking part in local experiences like long lines at Betty Rae’s on nice summer evenings!
What’s the most interesting feature of, or story about, your house? The previous owner of our home worked for NASA, which I think has to be pretty rare!
What is your favorite area business/restaurant/meal/drink/service? Betty Rae’s! Both Caroline and I went to Mizzou, and the owner of Betty Rae’s used to work for Sparky’s Ice Cream Shop in Columbia! So, naturally, I feel a connection. Caroline jokes with our friends that I single-handedly made sure that Betty Rae’s made it through the first month by going every single night!
What Waldo hidden gem would you recommend to neighbors and why? F3 Fitness (75th Street across from CVS). Andre is the owner/operator and is tough, but fair. He provides a quality service at a fair price. If you’re thinking about improving your personal fitness then I recommend you go talk to him.
Is there anything you would change about the neighborhood? We love the neighborhood! If I could change one thing it would be the level of involvement. I would love to see more people in the neighborhood involved in the association!
Guest post by WPHA resident Jim Anderson
The picture above from our Ring camera shows the police checking on our house while we were out of town. I always request the Ward Parkway Homes Association’s vacation house watch service every time we are gone more than just a couple days.
You can get access to this protection by becoming a member of our homes association and supporting the KCPD security patrol service. It is a wonderful thing to know your home is being watched by the “good guys.”
When I am home working in my office, I frequently look out the window and see marked or unmarked police cruisers going down our street. Our neighborhood takes security seriously enough to pay for off-duty officers to spend hours each week patroling our streets to watch for patterns and deter property crimes. A regular police presence sends would-be criminals elsewhere to prey on easier targets. I love seeing officers in our neighborhood. And I value the benefit of having them monitor my home for suspicious activity when I’m away.
The concern I have is that there are not enough paying neighbors to continue our security patrol service. I would hate for the WPHA to lose out to other neighborhoods who are on the waiting list for a security patrol service. Please review the information consider joining. Our KCPD security patrol is covered through the end of the year and can continue if we get enough paying members.
If you are a already a WPHA member, thank you so much. If you are a member but have not not opted to support the security patrol in the past, please join me and others in helping to keep our homes safe and protected.
The WPHA’s security patrol service ensures that we have a regular police presence than the understaffed Kansas City Police Department can otherwise provide in such a large city. This service, when combined with personal security cameras and watchful neighbors, helps keep property crimes in our neighborhood among the lowest in the city. And that’s the way we want to keep it!
Guest post by WPHA resident Sara Wiercinski
My husband and I bought our first home in 2011: a mint-green Colonial at the corner of 74th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, across the street from Hale Cook, a mothballed public elementary school. At the time I was pregnant with my son Luke. Though kindergarten seemed like a long time away, I became curious about the school, seeing as how we were now neighbors.
While walking my dogs by Hale Cook one Saturday, I met a group of people hosting a neighborhood yard sale — mostly donated items — to create buzz around campus. These friendly people in red T-shirts called themselves the Friends of Hale Cook. I learned about their efforts to generate neighborhood support for reopening the public school. The school district had not sold the school, only closed it for a while.
I was relatively new to Kansas City, and saw an opportunity to join these group of dedicated parents (and soon-to-be parents) to promote our dream for the neighborhood.
Soon after, Friends of Hale Cook formed as an official nonprofit organization with a board of directors. We conducted town halls, canvassing sessions, meetings with the school district, fundraisers, clean-up days, parade floats and even a feasibility study, commissioned by then-superintendent Stephen Green to prove community support for reopening the school. It was a lot of work for the six board directors, our families and a few regular volunteers. I have to admit that at times I doubted whether our efforts would go anywhere. The district had many other priorities. Also, there was much confusion around school choice and terminology (charters, magnets, private, signature schools).
Yet the hard work and persistence paid off. In 2013, the school district approved the reopening of Hale Cook Elementary. That first year, Hale Cook resided within a few classrooms inside Hartman Elementary; the following year our school building reopened to welcome kindergarten through second grade.
Julie Lynch, who served as transition coordinator while Hale Cook was off-site at Hartman Elementary, was named principal. Since then, Julie has been instrumental in developing a successful school with top-notch staff and a community spirit.
My son Luke entered kindergarten at Hale Cook in Fall 2017. I never considered sending him to any other school. Though I had been involved with the school’s reopening, joining the school as a parent was a new experience. My son has enjoyed two wonderful school years, and this month he returns as a second grader. My daughter Hazel will enter kindergarten at Hale Cook in fall 2020.
A few reasons why my family loves Hale Cook:
Eight years ago, I would have been unable to dream up what a gift Hale Cook Elementary has become to my family. I now hear of families who want to move into our neighborhood so their children can attend and walk to Hale Cook. As neighbors, we all have a stake in the success of Hale Cook and the school district as a whole, even those of us to don’t have children or whose children attend other schools. Shouldn’t Kansas City’s recent development boom elevate public education for all urban kids?
If you’re interested in learning more about my family’s experience at Hale Cook, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to volunteer at Hale Cook, please contact the school. We would be happy to have you.
There is an easy way to alert city staff to problems in our neighborhood. Through the City of Kansas City’s 311 Call Center, residents can request service for:
The city tries to respond to requests within two days, though this year’s proliferation of potholes has taxed its resources. To report a problem:
When submitting a service request to 311, include the location of the problem (either an address or detailed geographical information), a description of the problem and your contact information. You can also check the status of your 311 service request.
Julie Wittman originally started volunteering for the Ward Parkway Homes Association as a way to meet people and contribute to a great neighborhood. Today, she serves as co-chair of the WPHA Communications Committee and is a former Board member. (If you’d like to join the Communications Committee, she’d love to put your ideas and skills to use!)
Here’s how Julie answered our resident profile questions:
How long have you lived in the Ward Parkway Homes Association? Since 2011
Why did you choose to live in this neighborhood? I’ve lived along the South Plaza/Brookside/Waldo corridor for more than 15 years, and this part of KCMO just can’t be beat. I love that I can access the Trolley Track Trail and public transit so close to home, and that I can walk to my eye doctor, dentist, gym, hair salon, ice cream, library, and other local restaurants and services in a matter of minutes.
Do any family members or pets live with you? My husband, Andy.
Occupation (past or present)? I am part of the communications/marketing team for the City of Lenexa. Lots of public service experience so far in my career.
How do you like to spend your free time? Crochet, cooking and eating, reading, podcast listening, learning new things, gardening, long walks and talks, sipping a sazerac.
What is something most people don’t know about you? I’m probably the only renter in the neighborhood who has served on the WPHA Board. (Renters matter too!) Also, I formed the first women’s lacrosse umpire board in the Kansas City metro in the early 2000s. Refereeing lacrosse across the Midwest as a decade-long side hustle helped me pay off student loans.
What’s the most interesting feature of, or story about, your house? I was curious about what building-related permits the City of Kansas City had on file for our house, and the only one they could come up with was a sparsely-detailed permit to build the darn thing in 1922 for a whopping $5,000.
What is your favorite event or memory of the neighborhood? My mind was blown by some of the astonishing “secret garden” backyards of houses in our neighborhood that I visited during WPHA Garden Tours in past years. People are so passionate and creative! I’d love to see this event be revived someday.
What is your favorite area business/restaurant/meal/drink/service? Betty Rae’s, which is dangerously close to my house. And Bier Station, for the innovative concept and community spirit it introduced to the area.
When leaving for a summer vacation, protecting your home is just as important as protecting the items you bring with you. Be sure to take the necessary steps to give you peace of mind while you’re away. Here are some frequent mistakes to avoid.
Homeowners often hide spare keys around their houses, whether inside a fake rock, in a nearby plant or under the welcome mat. Because this is so commonplace, most burglars can easily find the hidden key, which makes breaking into your home quite simple. Instead, opt to keep a house key in a safer place, such as with a trusted neighbor, family member or friend.
It’s well known that you shouldn’t advertise vacations online (or anywhere, for that matter) before taking off on your trip. Don’t even post social media status updates while still on vacation. But maybe even more important is double-checking your social media accounts to make sure your address is not readily available to anyone seeking it. Delete past posts, party invites or events that may include your phone number as well. It’s easy to do a quick Google search and link a phone number to an address.
If you typically park your car in your driveway when you’re home, ask your neighbor if he/she would mind parking their car in your driveway while you’re away. This will give the appearance that someone is home. Keep up on regular home maintenance. Do you normally have a gardener maintain your lawn and landscaping? Weekly visits from the pool guy? Keep these schedules. If you do your own lawn work, hire it out or recruit family or friends to help while you’re gone.
Have a neighbor retrieve your recycling bin on trash day. If any potential thief is staking out houses, they’ll notice if something is off.
One easy way to tell if someone isn’t home is to just notice the pile of newspapers on the front lawn or the overflow of mail pouring from the mailbox. Suspending your mail service or having a trusted neighbor pick up your mail is a great way to deter thieves.
As simple as this sounds, sometimes people forget to double check that every door and window in their home is locked and secure before they head out on a trip. About 30-35% of all home break-ins in the U.S. take place through an open door or window.
Installing outdoor light with sensors or motion activation is always recommended for general home security. While you are away, using timers or other smart home lighting systems on interior lamps/lights will give the impression that someone is home and could deter unwanted guests.
The WPHA private security patrol comprised of retired and off-duty KCPD officers will check your house, doors, locks, windows and yard while you are on vacation and contact you if anything looks suspicious. Peace of mind while on vacation is priceless! Make sure you support this add-on service to get access to the vacation patrol benefit.