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.
The WPHA seeks volunteers to help with upcoming events and committee activities. Can you offer some of your time or talent? (This is a great opportunity for high-school-aged neighbors to earn community service hours.)
Volunteers needed to help assemble and deliver donation bags with instructions to each house in the neighborhood during the weekend of June 1. Volunteers also needed to collect and sort food donations and deliver them to Harvesters on Saturday, June 8.
This lunchtime event takes place on Thursday, July 4. We need 10 volunteers. No prior volunteer experience is needed. Volunteers should be able to lift 10 pounds, stand for 60-minute intervals, and present a positive energy. Volunteers will be asked to come to the event 1 hour before it starts, work periodically during the picnic, and stay about 1 hour after it ends. Volunteers will be able to eat during the picnic. High school students are encouraged to volunteer.
Volunteers needed for WPHA’s Spring Membership Drive, Thirsty Thursdays, and Fall Neighborhood Night Out. No prior volunteer experience is needed. Volunteers should be able to walk the neighborhood for 30–60-minute intervals, stand for 60 minute intervals, and present a positive energy. High school students are encouraged to volunteer for Membership Drive. Volunteers must be 21 years of age or older for Thirsty Thursday and Neighborhood Night Out.
Volunteers needed to join the committee as regular members. No prior volunteer experience is needed. Committee volunteers may be asked to communicate with local law enforcement agencies and/or local city officials and represent the WPHA at other crime/safety groups. Committee volunteers may be asked to summarize reports and work with basic computer programs.
Contact the WPHA to raise your hand. We’ll reply to your email within 72 business hours. Please identify the opportunity for which you would like to volunteer.
The Ward Parkway Homes Association is excited to announce the launch of a Membership Committee and its focus in the coming year. Richard Murray (Mercier Street) has joined the WPHA Board and will head the committee in 2019. Secretary Mike Allmon (Belleview Avenue) and Alex Gill (Jefferson Street) will serve as formal members, and several others volunteers will support the work.
Membership in the homes association is a priority for the WPHA Board this year. The primary charge of the Membership Committee will be to increase engagement with our residents and increase participation in the WPHA. Look for more frequent social interactions from the Membership Committee. Leveraging connections with local businesses and other community partners will be another important aspect of helping increase visibility of, and participation in, the WPHA. The Membership Committee will also be seen knocking on doors from time to time to welcome new residents into our neighborhood.
The WPHA Board looks forward to the work the Membership Committee is undertaking for 2019. If you would like to volunteer your time and talents, please contact us.
We’re looking for a few residents to plan the WPHA Easter Egg Hunt next year. This spirited egg hunt on the Ward Parkway Presbyterian Church lawn is a favorite for young kids. The event date is Sunday, April 7, with a rain date of Sunday, April 14, 2019. Tasks include coordinating with the church, filling eggs with candy, hiding them and organizing refreshments.
Can you assist us? If so, please let us know.
We are looking for door prizes to give away to adults and kids at the annual Ward Parkway Homes Association 4th of July Picnic. Can you help? Do you have connections to a KC business you’d be willing to tap (especially in the Waldo area)? The prize could be a coupon, a product, a service, etc. Get creative, and let us know what you come up with.
The Ward Parkway Homes Association collected 1,987 pounds of donations to benefit Harvesters Community Food Network in November 2017 — our highest total since 2010! Thanks to everyone who donated food and cash, and to all the volunteers who helped collect and deliver it.
The Ward Parkway Homes Association is a wonderful neighborhood filled with neighbors who watch out for each other and value working together to keep our neighborhood beautiful, safe and welcoming. We invite you to renew your annual membership in the association by Oct. 1, 2017 — or join for the first time if you are not currently a member. You can send a check by mail or pay online.
The budget for operating your association for a year is approximately $26,000. This includes beautification and maintenance of common areas, social events for all ages, representation at local community meetings, website and other communication methods, welcome kits for new neighbors and our private security patrol.
Our security patrol service was set up several years ago because residents wanted more of a public safety presence in the neighborhood. Not only do off-duty and former officers patrol our streets for up to 36 hours per week, but if you’ve paid for the service, they will also provide vacation house checks when you are out of town. The patrol service is primarily responsible for deterring and responding to property crimes such as theft, burglary, robbery and vandalism.
The security patrol service costs $60 per year for residents — or 16 cents a day. We encourage you to share the responsibility for providing this safety benefit to our neighborhood and help us continue to maintain some of the lowest crime rates in the city. To request a vacation security service check, fill out this form.
As technology advances, our communication tools have changed. Besides our website and Facebook page, this fall we are debuting a new email newsletter. We realize that some residents prefer a traditional print newsletter or opt out of using computers. But producing and mailing a quarterly print version is more expensive than an e-newsletter, which we can send to residents more frequently. Unlike the Nextdoor social media platform, this e-newsletter will contain only information related to our neighborhood.
The Ward Parkway Homes Association has maintained the same membership dues for more than eight years, and we strive to keep dues reasonable for everyone to afford. In order to continue to cover rising expenses for our security patrol and other activities, membership dues will increase this year to $50 per home. Our general dues have covered a deficit in the security patrol the past two years so we can offer competitive rates to retain high-quality off-duty officers. Security patrol dues will continue to be $60 per year. This will help us continue to balance our budget and have funds for all association needs. In response to your requests for an online dues-payment option, last year we began offering online payment via PayPal.
The WPHA Board of Directors and committees are made up of volunteer residents. A core group help us with activities, events, and representation at city meetings such as the Community Policing Action Cooperative, Country Club/Waldo Area Plan Steering Committee, and Southtown Council. There is strength in numbers, and we need more help and fresh ideas. Please consider volunteering your time and talents. Even a small involvement builds connection and capacity in our community.
Thank you for investing in your neighborhood. Hope to see you at our events this fall!
WPHA Vice President
Nestled behind many homes in our neighborhood are beautiful and inventive yards — real labors of love. The Ward Parkway Homes Association typically organizes a public, self-guided summer Garden Tour every two years to showcase residents’ talents. The last one was held in June 2015.
Unfortunately, the Garden Tour Committee does not have enough hosts lined up to warrant planning a tour in 2017. If you’ve got a yard you’re proud of and would like to participate in the future, please contact us.
Have an interesting, whimsical, unique or beautiful yard? Consider being part of the 2017 WPHA Garden Tour this summer. It’s a terrific way to meet neighbors and build community in a casual setting. And you really don’t have to invest lots of time sprucing things up. Residents enjoy seeing the diversity of approaches to maintaining yards in our neighborhood.
The WPHA Garden Tour usually takes place during a three-hour period on a Sunday afternoon in June. The date for this year’s event hasn’t been decided yet. As a thank you for being a host site, we’ll provide a gift card to Soil Service and a stipend for snacks.
Send us an email if you’d like to be featured as a tour stop or want to help coordinate the event.
Sidewalks are a vital link throughout our community. They connect us to jobs, schools, and neighbors. They provide a safe place for children to play and people to thrive. Having good sidewalks is a matter of safety, mobility and equity. Sidewalks are a key ingredient to a healthy community. But in many Kansas City neighborhoods, the sidewalks are upheaved, crumbling or nonexistent.
BikeWalkKC is partnering with several agencies and neighborhoods on the new SidewalksKC initiative to design a plan to fix our sidewalks. Get involved by attending planning sessions at The Whole Person:
Learn more about SidewalksKC
Let us know if you’d like to help represent the WPHA neighborhood in this effort!