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Founder of Harris Park golf course in heart of KCMO tears down his house to expand course

harris park golf course.jpg
Posted at 8:33 AM, Apr 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-29 12:06:38-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City, Missouri, man is making a big sacrifice to expand his dream of building a golf course in the heart of the neighborhood where he grew up.

Monday, crews will demolish Chris Harris’ home. The 50-year-old grew up on Wayne Avenue, and until about three weeks ago continued to live in the home his parents bought in the 1950s.

Last October, Harris unveiled a pitch-and-putt golf course near 40th Street and Wayne Avenue as part of the Harris Park Midtown Sports and Activity Center. The course, playground, basketball court and other attractions are all there as alternatives to keep children in the neighborhood out of trouble.

“My goal is to continue to educate, uplift our neighborhood, uplift the minds of the people in the neighborhood along with myself; to give them beautiful things and teach them we can have beautiful things, if we put our hearts and our minds to it and make it happen,” Harris said.

After crews tear down the house at 4029 Wayne Ave., Harris will build a new hole for the golf course, creating 18 different shots spread out over three holes. He hopes golf teaches children life lessons like anger management and shows children there is value in their neighborhood.

“I think the grass is green east of Troost Avenue, just like it is west of Troost, and I'm just going to the beautification and make that dream come true and kind of balance things out for our community,” Harris said.

As for losing his house, Harris has downsized to an apartment and said he believes demolishing the home is for the best.

“I have a lot of memories and I can keep my memories clear and close to my heart. The overall goal is bigger and better. I think it is just the right time for us to move forward with this project,” he said.

Later Monday morning, Kansas City, Missouri, police gave a statement on Harris' project:

Chris is a respected member of the community that is known by all in the area, His investment in his community has a direct impact on the crime in that area. His park is a beacon for youth in the neighborhood to safely play. Chris’s selfless service to his community is a model for all across the city. Exposing kids to the life lessons they will learn through golf will have positive impacts in that community for generations. We are happy to have a friend in Chris and glad to have his partnership in the community.

The new part of the course should open in July. The first phase of the golf course is free and open to the public. You can visit the course on Wayne Avenue between 40th and 41st streets any time during the daytime to play.