KANSAS CITY, MO. — A Kansas City park named after civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is getting recognition from the most popular man in town: Patrick Mahomes.
On Wednesday, the 15 and the Mahomies Foundation said it will financially support a one-of-a-kind play site for children and families at Dr. Martin Luther King Square Park off Swope Parkway and Woodland Avenue. The total cost could be anywhere from $800,000 to $1 million.
"They came to us and said Patrick wants to build a destination playground, he wants it to be a place where everyone is welcomed, meaning inclusive," said Terry Rynard, KCMO Parks and Recreation director.
The news of Mahomes becoming a part of the renovation effort came as a shock to those who have worked so hard to bring attention to the needs of this park.
"Just completely taken aback by it. I was like what, Mahomes? I was like, for real?" said Donald Rankins, a parks ambassador.
"We could not of dream of something so awesome," added DuRon Netsell, who has volunteered to clean up the park in the past.
The foundation brings in donations from a diverse donor base that includes corporate donors, the general public and — of course — Mahomes himself to support communities in need.
Now, the foundation is helping a park that many say has been neglected.
"Many people who lived in Kansas City their whole lives don’t realize we have a park named after Dr. King," Netsell said.
After the failed Paseo Boulevard name change to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, many people turned their attention to this forgotten park.
Now, they have muscle in their push.
"We can have events there and stuff like that," Rankins said. "It would be awesome to have an annual commemoration of Dr. King at that location."
Netsell said a large playground with different elements would attract people from across the city.
Their work on bringing attention to the park is now paying off, with the Super Bowl MVP on their team.
"It just shows what a few people with determination, with passion can help contribute towards and catalyze," Netsell said.
"A young man to be so forward-thinking of how much of an impact he can have on a community," Rynard added.
The Parks Department is accepting requests for proposals on the project until mid-October, with the hopes of starting construction at the beginning of next year and a completion date of Aug. 2021.