Recently, the Parson team joined up with the Marlborough Community Coalition, members of the City’s Marlborough Community Center (big kuddos to Brian Dennis), the Urban Ranger Corps, the Center Alternative School summer interns, and the Marlborough Catalyst consultant project team of BNIM, Cole + Rosser, KC Healthy Kids, and Cultivate-KC, to walk the five neighborhoods of Marlborough and meet the residents that call this great community their home. We had more than 40 volunteers, mostly students, turn out to assist us with this activity. Councilwoman, Cindy Circo and Jackson County Legislator, Theresa Garza Ruiz also attended.
We took to the streets for half a day, knocking on doors and introducing the Marlborough Catalyst project to the residents. We walked all five neighborhoods:
- Marlborough East
- Marlborough Pride
- Marlborough Renaissance
- Walnut Grove
- Battleflood Heights
Even within the Marlborough community, each of the five neighborhoods differed in their offerings, housing stock and basic neighborhood amenities. For each resident that consented to our quick 10-minute survey, we asked the following questions:
- Why do you live in Marlborough and what do you love about it?
- What are Marlborough’s top 3 assets or treasures?
- What are Marlborough’s 3 biggest challenges?
- What will make Marlborough a great place to live in the future?
- Would you be willing to take a survey about how to better access healthy food, if one of our team members came back to your home in mid-August 2013?
The responses varied depending on the neighborhood but the common themes about why residents love Marlborough included the people, the affordable housing and the proximity to the highways. Some of the challenges or areas that need improvement included either the need for sidewalks or sidewalk repairs, youth activities and public safety.
As the team delves into the survey answers more deeply, those responses will be used to help build a comprehensive and inclusive plan for the entire Marlborough community. That is what the Marlborough Catalyst project is aiming to do: work with the community to build an implementable development plan for their future.
The Parson team had a wonderful time and loved working with all of the students from the Urban Ranger Corps and the Center Alternative School summer program. We worked with the future community leaders and walked away encouraged and confident in a stronger and brighter Kansas City.