Friends of Gillham Park Bringing Neighborhoods together for a better community

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Welcome to Friends of Gillham Park


Friends of Gillham Park is a small group of friends and neighbors from Hyde Park, Squier Park, and Manheim who have been meeting to discuss possible fundraising avenues to complete the under five play area and spray park in Gillham Park.  During these discussions we thought that a group to focus solely on the needs of the park was in order.  Hence the formation of "Friends of Gillham Park".

 The formation of "Friends", with the involvement of all the surrounding neighborhoods, allows us to focus on the park with the support of a broader range of neighbors outside of Hyde Park who will also use the park.  We have presented our mission to the Squier Park, Union Hill,  an Southmoreland Neighborhood Associations and have gotten support from those organizations.  Members of our group are in the process of presenting our mission and requesting support of the Manheim, Rockhill and Old Hyde Park neighborhoods.

Join Friends of Gillham Park

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Our Next Event

Volunteers needed for Santa's Wonderland, Dec. 5

Friends of Gillham Park will again be partnering with the City of Kansas Cit Department of Parks and Recreation for the annual Santa's Wonderlan to be held from 6:00 p.m. Dec. 5 in Gillham Park. We're expecting hundred of kids will be there to belt out Christmas carols, sip hot chocolate, make holiday crafts and share their Christmas wish lists with jolly Ol' St. Nick. FOGP does need your help in making sure this event is a huge success. We're looking for volunteers to staff game booths, set up prior to the event and help clean up afterwards. If you are interested, please e-mail us at


2008 Events

December 5 Santa's Wonderland


Friends of Gillham Park Receives Commissioner's Award

On Friday, Jan. 18th, Friends of Gillam Park was awarded the Commissioners Award by the Kansas City, Missouri Parks and Recreation Board of Commissioners for service to the community.

It was a wonderful evening and truly exciting. The award could not have been possible without the overwhelming support of the surrounding community, the hardworking board members, our friends and true partners at Parks and Recreation, each and every volunteer that has put in countless hours picking up trash, manning events and each person who comes to the meetings and event attendees.

Since it’s inception, Friends of Gillham Park has strived to provide a positive atmosphere to foster the growth and change our neighborhood needs. We have all successfully shown the city that midtown is a place worthy of their time and attention. Each successful hurdle only strengthens our position and betters our neighborhoods and improves Kansas City as a whole.

It is an honor and a pleasure to share this award with each and every one of you!



2007 Santa's Wonderland Highlights

Playground Dedication Highlights

A good time was had by all who attended the Gillham Park Playground dedication and Fireworks!   A big thank you goes out to KC Parks and Recreation and our Wonderful Sponsors for making the event a complete success!

The evenings festivities were started by Mark McHenry, Director - Kansas City Parks and Recreation.   Other speakers included KC Parks boardmember Aggie Stackhouse, Greg Hugeback from the Gillham Road Improvement Project, 4th District Councilperson Jan Marcasson and Friends of Gillham Park representative Stacey Roske.


                                                               Mary McHenry               Aggie Stackhouse         Greg Hugeback           Jan Marcasson

Click on the videos to hear Friends of Gillham Park representative Stacey Roske's remarks and see the ribbon cutting!



Now let's get the party started!  Children (and their parents) enjoyed a giant moonwalk and slide, face painting, carnival games, the cool KC Police cruiser, sno-cones, fireworks and the playground!


Eddie Penrice - Manager, Special Events KC Parks and Recreation (shown here with Mark McHenry and Steve Lampone - Deputy Director) was our DJ!

A wonderful evening capped off by a BEAUTIFUL display of fireworks - Thank you KC Parks and Recreation!!!

Thank you to everyone that attended!   And thank you to our wonderful sponsors and volunteers!



Gillham Park to Receive Upgraded Care!


Friends of Gillham Park were thrilled to hear on Friday, July 27th that thanks to a private donation from the Ward Family and Russell Stover Candies that Gillham Park along with Theis Park would be the beneficiary of upgraded care and maintenance.  The same maintenance provided to Loose Park and Ward Parkway.

We are so excited!   Thank you to the Ward Family and Russell Stover Candies!     The following is a letter from our board, a link to the press Release from Parks and Recreation and the story published in the Kansas City Star on Saturday, July 28th.

If you haven't been by the park recently - stop by!   The playgrounds are nearly complete (minus the water fountain) and you will likely see your neighbors enjoying a quiet read or conversation as their children play.   

There is still more work to do, but Gillham Park is well on its way to becoming the shining start is once was!


A Message from our Board


Dear Friends and Family, 

As you may already know, a group of neighbors started a little organization a just over a year ago to convince the city and Parks and Recreation to complete the renovation of our park.  Since June of 2006, we have succeeded in putting $500,000 of PIAC funding into actual construction of 2 entirely new playgrounds at 41st and Gillham Road .  We have successfully caught the attention of City Councilmember’s, Parks Board Members and other vital Parks and Recreation employees; started and sustained a thriving Partnership with Parks program that successfully meets to clean up the park once a month; produced 2 neighborhood events bringing over 300 people back to the inner city park and garnered media attention.  Through these ends we have reduced crime, and increased visibility of families living and thriving in the city.

The Board of Friends of Gillham Park are very pleased to share the attached press release with you. Through a gift from the Ward Family Foundation and Russell Stover Candies, Gillham Park and Theis Parks will receive the same upgraded landscaping and maintenance as Loose Park.  If you have been to Loose Park in the last few years, you know that it is a beautiful park reflective of the neighborhood around it.  We are very excited about this development in our own neighborhood.

We want to express our deep gratitude to the Ward Family Foundation and Russell Stover Candies for this amazing gift which has come about through the hard work and dedication of Parks and Recreation.   Specifically we want to thank The Parks Board, Steve Lampone, Mark Bowland, Kevin Evans and the countless other Parks and Recreation employees who work tirelessly on behalf of Kansas City's parks.    We would also like to thank each and every member of the community that supports Gillham Park through volunteerism, clean ups and general positivity.  Your hard work is paying off!!!  

Thank you! 

Best Regards,

The Board Members of Friends of Gillham Park

Roxanna Shaffe, Pam Lyne, Stacey Roske, Amy Crouse, Karen Mell and Patrick Murphy 


Click here for the Press Release


From the KC Star

Two parks in line for upgraded care

The Kansas City Star
Theis and Gillham parks will receive the same kind of enhanced landscaping and maintenance as Loose Park and Ward Parkway, thanks to a private donation.

A gift from the Ward Family Foundation and Russell Stover Candies Inc. will pay for litter collection five days a week, three applications of fertilizer a year, post-emergent weed control, aerification of the turf, overseeding twice a year and maintenance of trees and shrubs.

The Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department tries to mow the parks weekly, but the donation will ensure that happens. The biggest difference will be in the condition of the grass and the maintenance of the trees and shrubs, said Steve Lampone, deputy director of the parks department.

The value of the new gift was not disclosed, but the improvements to Loose Park in the past four years have been in the millions of dollars. It was named one of the country’s “top 10 lawns for family fun” in 2004 by the Briggs & Stratton lawn mower engine company.

Lampone called the new gift “astounding.”
“This will allow us to maintain two of our heavily used and historic parks at an improved level beginning in the spring of 2008,” he said.

Theis Park covers nearly 14 acres on the north side of Brush Creek between Locust and Oak streets. Gillham Park covers nearly 59 acres on both sides of Gillham Road from 39th Street to Brush Creek Boulevard.






A Letter from our President

May 22, 2007

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

We have Good News!, PIAC Funding was approved for construction of an Under Five Playground in Gillham Park. That means the $200,000 application that Friends of Gillham Park requested in June of last year, is now ready and waiting to build Phase II of the Park. (For those of you who may have missed it, Phase I is already WELL underway!).

After PIAC funding was approved there was a concern that Phase II be allowed to proceed immediately without delay.   To that end we were told a change order would be required. 

Members of Friends of Gillham Park then attended the last few meetings of the Parks and Recreation Board of Commissioners.   At that first meeting we presented a letter to Mark McHenry – Director of the Parks Board asking that all measures be taken to ensure the timely completion of the park construction.

From there, we were emailed plans for the Under 5 Playground structure, which we forwarded on to as many people as possible. It was very important to get neighborhood input and approval so that the plan could be on the Board docket and subsequently approved. Thank you to each and every one of you who took the time to email Scott Overbay with your overwhelming support. The Parks Department was impressed with the response they got via email. 

Because of your involvement and emails, the structure proposal was placed on the docket for the May 1st Board meeting and unanimously approved. The change order is in effect.

What Happens Now? Friends of Gillham Park will meet with our new 4th District City Councilwoman Jan Marcason to ask that the encumbrance be left out of the city audit so that construction can finish in time for the July 4th holiday. You will receive an update on that meeting soon.

In the mean time – Mark your calendars for the park dedication and 4th of July community picnic and celebration. Friends of Gillham Park is teaming up with KC Parks and Rec to bring music, games and fun to a midtown 4th of July! Things we have in store – Moon walk, carnival games, kid’s bike parade, fireworks and much much more! Please contact us if you have any ideas or would like to volunteer your time!

It is the amazing support and positive input of friends, neighbors and residents that has produced so much success in the park. Each time you drive by the park and eventually when you get to use the playground, you should know that you made it happen! 

Thank you for continuing to support Friends of Gillham Park!

We hope to see you at this Saturday's clean up!

Best Regards,

Roxanna Shaffe

President - Friends of Gillham Park

Friends in the News


On February 20th, Friends of Gillham Park was highlighted in a special publication in the Kansas City Star focusing on the Parks and Recreation department.  Friends of Gillham Park was chosen as a model example of a volunteer organization working with Parks and Recreation.  


Just in case you missed it, Click here for a pdf copy of the entire Kansas City Parks and Recreation insert.   You will find it very informative with information on parks happenings and a calendar of events for the spring and summer! 


Construction on the Over Five Playground has begun!


Whoo Hoo!   We are so excited!   Construction has begun on the Over Five Playground!  We have no estimated time of completion, however, Mark Bowland, Kansas City Parks and Recreation Manager of the Central Region, tells us that we should see progress almost every day!    

Thank you KC Parks and Recreation!


Under Five Playground Funding Gets Green Light from PIAC Committee


The PIAC Committee has recommended to the City Council that the GRIP requested under-five playground be funded.   It is expected that Councilman Glover will support the request.   


A BIG thanks goes out to all of you that supported this request by gathering petitions and speaking in support of this request at the June 2006 PIAC hearing.  


When approved this will be the 12th Gillham Road/Harrison Parkway PIAC request funded since the inception of PIAC twenty years ago.

More Exciting Happenings Just Around the Corner 



2007 promises to be even more exciting for us and you.  In January our new board was formed.  We are working closely with KCNA (Kansas City Neighborhood Alliance) to create an organization that is effective and reflective of the community we serve.  Keep checking back for board profiles.  


Currently, Friends of Gillham Park is working towards establishing a Field of Interest fund with the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation.  This is a very exciting step for us and you as it makes our fundraising efforts legitimate and is the last PIAC requirement we needed to meet.  This fund will help us as the new round of PIAC meetings commence.  Friends of Gillham Park has successfully met the community involvement and stewardship requirements.  We have lots of community support and pledges of monetary support from area businesses.  All of these things work together to make our case to the city, committee and Parks and Rec to provide us a usable park within walking distance of our homes! 





2006 Recap

June A group of concerned residents attends PIAC meetings to ask for money to complete Gillham Park.  They learn that PIAC expects to see community involvement and stewardship, and outside funds.  Friends of Gillham Park is born.
July First Park Clean -up
  Established Partners in Parks Program with Kansas City Parks and Recreation
  Invited to meet Councilman Nash at city Hall.  Also met with Councilman Glover to discuss park and funding.
August National Night Out Against Crime a completely free community event covered by Channel 4 that brought nearly 350 people to Gillham Park..
  Presented requests for funding to Citywide PIAC Committee.  Nearly 20 families attended from surrounding neighborhoods.
December Santa’s Wonderland  – a partnership with KC Parks and Rec.


Congratulations to our Dollhouse Winner - Sadie Garrison!



October 2006 - Ground prepared for new playground


A Big THANK YOU to all of the neighbors that came to show their support for Gillham Park at the City Wide PIAC Meeting on 
Thursday, August 24th at 6:30PM at the GEM Theater


At the meeting Friends of Gillham park submitted and presented a combined request for the funding of

 A SPRAYPARK, an UNDER FIVE PLAYGROUND, SHELTERS and GRILLS to the PIAC (Public Improvements Advisory Committee).




News and Updates


THE PARK IS BEING WORKED ON!!!!!!  Many of  you have all seen the demolition going on down at the park.  Dirt and trees being hauled away, orange construction fence going up!  This is the beginning of our new park.  From here, the city will start soliciting bids.  The city bid process is lengthy, but basically, when all is said and done, the new five and older playground will start going into the park in 6-8 weeks.   


Due to neighborhood support of Gillham Park and the Friends of Gillham Park we've really been able to make significant progress toward bringing attention to the park since our inception in early June 2006!   The following are a few of the highlights:

  • Friends of Gillham Park have partnered with Parks and Recreation by joining the Partners in Parks Program.   Through this program "Friends" pledges their support (and muscle) to help maintain Gillham Park
  • We've received pledges of financial support from six neighborhood businesses
  • We've received cash and pledges of financial support from private individuals
  • Political Attention - Senator Charles Wheeler, as well as, Councilmen Nash and Glover have expressed their support
  • We continue to get more and more surrounding neighborhood support
  • Media Attention - We've had two spots on Channel 4



Join The Friends of Gillham Park


Get regular updates on park activities, news and more!   It is simple - just provide us with your email address in the box below.    We promise not to constantly fill your in-box or sell/give out your information. 

Join Our Mailing List





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