Kansas City’s Martin Luther King Jr. Park has been noted in the news a lot over the past couple years. The public space at the corner of Woodland Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard (formerly Swope Parkway) was frequently mentioned in connection with the battle over renaming the Paseo for the martyred civil rights leader, with plenty of commentators noting that the park hadn’t seen much attention.
That’s about to change in a big way thanks to the charity founded by Chiefs superstar QB Patrick Mahomes, 15 and the Mahomies Foundation, which donated one million dollars to build an inclusive new playground there.
“A million dollars is absolutely a large playground for this municipality,” says Erica Flad, a senior landscape architect working on the project for Landworks Studio. “It is a very inclusive playground, so that means that children with disabilities are able to play next to children without, so it’s an exciting project.”
Among the touches designed to pay tribute to King are pavers on the walkways that include notable quotes from his speeches and an interpretive sign that talks about his legacy.
There’s hope that the playground will be just the first step in a revitalization of the park, says Christina Gunter, who runs the company building the playground.“Mahomes was very intentional in selecting this site,” she says. “You can see this playground from Highway 71, from Cleaver. It’s very visible, you’ll see it.”