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Won’t you meet our neighbor: Cindy Latimer

i Oct 2nd No Comments by

Cindy Latimer has lived on the west side of the Ward Parkway Homes Association for eight years. Here’s how she answered our resident profile questions:

What street do you live on? Mercier Street

Do any family members or pets live with you? One cat, one dog, and rotating foster pets (currently have 3 kittens).

Occupation (past or present)? IT manager covering multiple sites across North America.

How do you like to spend your free time? Sleeping! Otherwise, I am a big live theater fan, and also can be found working on the house/yard while listening to an audiobook.

What is at the top of your bucket list? Working on it now — in classes to foster children.

What is something most people don’t know about you? I have a degree in computer science with minors in math and theater.

What’s the most interesting feature of, or story about, your house? The house has been remodeled so many times that there are about five layers of wall, and I think all the rooms have been moved throughout the years.

What is your favorite event or memory of the neighborhood? Living in a very close block of neighbors. Neighborhood progressive dinners, wine tastings, pool parties, etc.

What is your favorite area business/restaurant/meal/drink/service? Summit Grill! Great happy hour menu.

Is there anything you would change about the neighborhood? I wish the sidewalks were repaired, it can get rough and kids can’t bike/skateboard on sidewalk — which puts them in the street.

Cindy Latimer

Watch your mailbox: It’s time to renew your WPHA membership!

i Sep 8th No Comments by

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:

  • Letter from the President – WPHA Board President Nancy Bader Nancy outlines several reasons why membership in the homes association is so important.
  • Membership Form – We outline the specifics of the new membership levels, unveil our brand-new referral program, and provide several convenient ways to pay for your membership —  including the introduction of a new monthly extended payment option. The WPHA is also offering an 18% discount on Platinum Memberships to all residents that sign up by Nov. 1!
  • KCPD Security Patrol – As has always been the case, our neighborhood is provided extra patrolling by Kansas City Police Department officers as a result of security patrol dues paid by our residents. Without your membership, we are at risk of losing this extremely important benefit. Review this part of the mailing to see what benefits the KCPD provides specifically to our neighborhood as a result of your paid membership.
  • Beautification Committee Event – On the back of the KCPD Security Patrol flyer is information about the upcoming Mums Sale coordinated by our Beautification Committee on Sept. 28. Make sure to check that out!

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!

Ways our KCPD security patrol is making the neighborhood safer

i Sep 8th No Comments by

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!”

Voicing concerns about property tax assessments

i Sep 7th No Comments by

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.

  • Mayor Quinton Lucas (Kansas City, Missouri)
  • Frank White Jr – County Executive (Jackson County)
  • Tony Miller – Third District At-Large (Jackson County Legislator)
  • Gail McCann Beatty – Director of Assessment (Jackson County Assessment Department)
  • Christopher Smith – Chairman, Board of Equalization
  • Marilyn Shapiro – Vice Chair, Board of EqualizationF
  • Forestine Beasley – Member, Board of Equalization

The WPHA will share with our residents any feedback we receive.

Won’t you meet our neighbor: Gaye Tillotson

i Sep 7th No Comments by

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!”

Gaye and Terry Tillotson

Water main improvements start flowing this month

i Aug 12th No Comments by

Over the next year, KC Water is planning to replace some deteriorating water mains that impact our neighborhood, including a transmission main along 75th Street from State Line Road to Troost Avenue and a section of 73rd Street near State Line Road. There will also be work along 73rd Street from State Line Road to Terrace Street.

The water mains will be replaced with pipes that have a larger diameter and are more durable. These infrastructure improvements will ultimately reduce service interruptions due to breaks, reduce costs, and increase capacity and fire protection.

Construction on the project will start later this month, weather permitting, and should last 12 months overall. First up is 75th Street near Wornall Road, which will be under construction through October.

Join the Waldo Area Improvements Facebook group to get the latest project updates.

Presentation from Aug. 8, 2019, public meeting (PDF)

Won’t you meet our neighbor: Alex Gill

i Aug 10th No Comments by

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!

Caroline and Alex Gill

Caroline and Alex Gill

The WPHA can provide paid security while you’re away from home

i Aug 9th No Comments by

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!

Ring camera screenshot of police officer on front porch

 

 

Hale Cook Elementary enlivens our neighborhood

i Aug 9th No Comments by

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:

  • It’s a public school. Our school’s success contributes to the success of the overall school district. Test scores are up, and the district is on track to becoming fully accredited next year. This is great news for Kansas City.
  • The teachers. Luke has learned to read, do math, make art and sing. These hard-working educators deserve recognition for their dedication and patience.
  • Hale Cook families represent a variety of life experiences. This diversity is a gift.
  • LINC. Hale Cook starts at 9:15 a.m. and ends at 4:15 p.m., so many families need help before and after school. Our LINC site coordinator, Qiana McGee, coordinates fantastic partnerships to bring creative and educational programming to our extended care program. Through LINC, Luke has cooked healthy snacks, performed at a tap dance recital, weeded the school garden and competed in three chess tournaments. LINC also offers Girls on the Run, drumming, art and scouting. Families pay no fees for LINC.
  • Thanks to partnerships with Kansas City Community Gardens and hard work of volunteer stewards, Hale Cook has a beautiful vegetable garden and orchard with pears, apples, blackberries and raspberries. We are also a designated Monarch Watch waystation.
  • Active PTA. Our fundraisers and partnerships with community resources have resulted in improvements to the school grounds, including sun shades and a swing set on the playground. This past January, the PTA’s first-ever trivia night raised funds to hire a part-time Spanish instructor. These committed parents make for a vibrant, caring school community.

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 srechtin@gmail.com. If you want to volunteer at Hale Cook, please contact the school. We would be happy to have you.

exterior of Hale Cook Elementary School

311 has answers to many neighborhood questions

i Jun 27th No Comments by

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:

  • Broken streetlights
  • Potholes
  • Dead or dangerous trees in the city’s easement
  • Stormwater problems
  • Missing or damaged street signs
  • Nuisance properties
  • Animal issues, such as pet hoarding and rodents.

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:

  • Call 311 or 816-513-1313.
  • Fill out an online form.
  • Click a location on an online map.
  • On Twitter, follow @KCMO311.
  • Download the 311 mobile app (iOS and Android).
  • Mail the service request form to 311, City Hall, First Floor, 414 E. 12th St., Kansas City, MO 64106
  • Fax the service request form to 816-513-1303.

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.