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KC man who transformed neighborhood now focusing on community health

Posted: 9:27 PM, Jun 11, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-12 03:20:46Z
Harris Park Health

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City man known for building a golf course in his childhood neighborhood is hoping to transform his community once again.

Chris Harris has spent the last 20 years building Harris Park, located at Wayne Avenue and 40th Street. It's a neighborhood that faces health challenges, according to the Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department.

"We struggle in this zip code," Harris said.

Data from the health department found people in the 64110 zip code can be expected to live to 76 years old, nine years less than someone living less than 10 minutes away on the Country Club Plaza. The health department has identified several factors for the discrepancies among zip codes, including a lack of economic opportunity, education, violence prevention and preventative health.

Life Expectancy by ZIP Code
This map shows how long residents in certain areas are expected to live based on their zip codes.

Harris wants to change this statistic by improving health.

He teamed up with Truman Medical Center to launch a community-wide weight loss challenge. More than 20 neighbors gathered Tuesday night at Harris Park to have their cholesterol levels and blood pressure checked. They were also given free food to make a new, healthy recipe.

"I think it goes hand-in-hand to clean up the community and clean up our health as well," Harris said. "Continue to clean up, clean up the health, clean up the community, and I think we can expand that life expectancy for a minute and try and make it longer."

To learn more about the free program and how you can start something similar in your neighborhood, visit www.trumed.org/resources/community-health.