KC man spends own time, money building neighborhood park

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Hidden in Kansas City's Ivanhoe neighborhood, near 40th Street and Wayne Avenue, is a small sports oasis. 

There are basketball courts, a playground, green grass and a putting ground — all stark contrasts to an area better known for blight.

And Chris Harris is the man responsible for it all. 

"I just never was comfortable in this neighborhood with all the trash and debris," he told 41 Action News. "I just had a feeling that if I could clean up, everything else would come easy." 

Harris currently lives in the home he grew up in right across from Harris Park, which he created more than 20 years ago as a way to clean up his neighborhood and do something positive. 

He first started buying properties next-door and across the street, slowly growing the park on his own time and with his own money. 

Now, he is one step closer to expanding his plans. 

"I just figured if kids can walk outside, put their shoes on and play golf, there's no way they could not make it," Harris said. 

For years, he has dreamed of adding a golf course across the street, to help expose children to a sport they otherwise would never know. The PGA and other organizations have already expressed interest in teaming up. 

So in less than a year, Harris believes his dreams will come to fruition. 

"When I was growing up, I played in blighted areas. For the last 20 years, these kids have had opportunities not to play in blighted areas and now it's embedded," he said. "I want to continue growing that." 

This Saturday, Harris is holding a 5K to kickoff the fundraising for improvements. He will also be demolishing a property, where one of the holes will go. To sign up or find out more about the race and this project, you can visit this site.

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