Kansas City, Mo. - Ten years ago, the Kansas City Missouri Parks and Recreation department had twice the staff. Now neighbors in one neighborhood do more to care for their park than the city. A recent vote will swing maintenance back into balance.
"Right now, they do more than the parks and rec, honestly" said Kieonne Arrington of his neighbors who come every Saturday to clean up Roanoke Park.
He brought his daughter, Anisa, to the park to play. They stood amid browning grass and a crumbling baseball diamond.
Soon the city will be able to step up their efforts again, doubling most maintenance at parks like Roanoke. When voters said yes to Question 1, it removed several property taxes and a vehicle renewal tax and replaced them with a half-cent sales tax. Now millions from that sales tax will be redirected to the department of Parks and Recreation.
"It is a pretty big difference," said Forest Decker with the Parks and Recreation Department. "It doesn't get us back to the level of maintenance we were even ten years ago, but it will be a really big difference compared to 2011, 2012.
Decker gave us a list of the difference in services we'll see.
City fountains will be cleaned twice a week instead of twice a month. There will be 140 flower beds planted and maintained instead of just 40. Baseball diamonds like the one at Roanoke Park will be dragged twice as often and graffiti will be tackled within 24 hours instead of 48. To do this, Decker said they will be able to rehire about thirty people that cuts had forced them to let go over the last several years.
There will be immediate changes, but the majority of funds from Question 1 won't be available until May 2013.
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