Wyandotte County Parks & Recreation Online Survey

Wyandotte County Parks Master PlanFrom UG Parks and Recreation:

Dear Community Member,

Wyandotte County is conducting a Parks and Recreation System Master Plan Survey. This survey will provide vital information to help shape future decision-making and direction of parks and recreation services for Wyandotte County residents. Please support this effort by taking a few minutes to fill out the survey.

Even if you do not use these facilities, we still appreciate hearing from you. ALL responses are important and will be kept confidential and reported only in aggregate.

Please feel free to share this survey with any of your acquaintances or colleagues who may also want to provide input on the future of parks and recreation in Wyandotte County.

We appreciate your participation and thank you for your time. The planning of future parks and recreation facilities and services in Wyandotte County relies on the feedback from our residents!

Click here to take the survey

Newsletter Feature for February 20, 2017

Good day. This edition again spotlights how communities are succeeding in Smart Growth. Jim Schraeder, DTSKCK Vice President, shares some of his experience from a familiar event:

Downtown KCK is doing a lot of things right. That was one of the things I realized while attending a national conference two weeks ago. DTSKCK Director Chuck Schlittler, LISC‘s Amanda Wilson, and I participated in the New Partners for Smart Growth conference in St. Louis the first of the month. There were lots of sessions focusing particularly on economic development and housing. In addition, I was able to travel around the center of the city to view several interesting case studies.

So what are we doing right?

  • Downtown Improvement District – For nearly a decade now, businesses have agreed to assess themselves for safety and cleaning ambassadors, for overall beautification, and general marketing. And we’ve just extended this for another decade.
  • Focusing on healthy and sustainable outcomes – This community correctly has emphasized seeking the “right” kinds of development that will strengthen long-term economic stability. We currently are supporting Prairie Fire Development Groups‘s new 92-unit mixed income mixed-use residential “agri-hood” along Washington Boulevard that starts to address the “healthy campus” initiative around Downtown’s 10th Street corridor. And we have just updated Downtown’s detailed inventory of historic properties, which should lead to more opportunities for using historic tax credits to reinvigorate our underutilized commercial buildings.
  • Community-Based Planning – From the 2007 Downtown Master Plan to the 2011 Transit Corridor Improvements planning to the 2014 Downtown Parkway District Implementation Plan for a “healthy campus,” intensive community interaction has strengthened the linkages between our Downtown and our surrounding residential neighborhoods. Things like the completion of Downtown’s transit hub at 7th & Minnesota have spurred further striving for additional workforce housing, located to take best advantage of improving transit opportunities. The businesses, residents, and governmental leadership of our community continually join together to determine how best to proceed with redevelopment, whether it’s new types of housing, a Downtown full-service grocery store, or a new community center / YMCA.

And that’s just a start. And they are just a few of the key things which the participants in this conference were discussing.

Yes, we know there are lots of challenges still ahead for our Downtown. And everything I heard at the conference reinforced that, for sure. But what we already have accomplished together has been significant. We have a strong foundation. Downtown KCK definitely can become the authentic and vibrant urban center our plans describe. That fact was reinforced for me as well.

Jim Schraeder – helping develop “Everyone’s Downtown”
Board Vice President | Chair of Economic Development & Housing Committee Downtown Shareholders of KCK

Another Smart Growth component is wellness and accessibility. Note the bike rack picture below and following article by Rick Behrens. We appreciate Rick sharing this article for our newsletter, and Jim for sharing his thoughts on what Downtown is doing right.

Communities working together for smart growth. Open minds producing results. More reasons to be a part of Downtown. Come, be a part. Come see why Downtown KCK is Everyone’s Downtown.


Chuck Schlittler, Director
Downtown Shareholders of Kansas City, Kansas
Cell/Text: (913) 620-7480
726 Armstrong, Ste 201
Kansas City, KS 66101
Office: (913) 371-0705

Bike WYCO Racks Installed on Minnesota

Here’s a guest article from Rick Behrens about an exciting Downtown development:

In spring of 2016, Cathy Harding and Randy Lopez of the Wyandotte Health Foundation decided a bike rack in front of their office would be a practical and meaningful addition to the streetscape at 8th & Minnesota. They contacted Rick Behrens, Levee Trail Coordinator, and Nils Gore, KU professor of architecture at the Dotte Agency.

Nils Gore designed a unique and minimalist bike rack. With a BIKE WYCO laser etching, the rack resembles a bike wheel. This pilot project was approved by the Downtown Shareholders for installation in four locations on the 700 block of Minnesota Avenue. The Wyandotte Health Foundation provided the grant to pay for the four racks. The bike racks, pictured at left, have recently been installed by Public Works in front of the Wyandotte Health Foundation, the KCK Chamber of Commerce, A Cup on the Hill, and the Brotherhood Bank building.

Thanks go out to Wyandotte Health Foundation, Downtown Shareholders, KCK Chamber, Public Works and the Dotte Agency for the successful completion of this collaborative community initiative.

BPU Offices Closed for President’s Day

The administrative offices and customer service lobby of the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities will be closed on Monday, February 20th, 2017 in observance of President’s Day.

Although BPU’s business offices are closed on holidays, emergency service is available seven days a week, 24 hours per day. For power emergencies, customers should call (913) 573-9522. The water emergency number is (913) 573-9622 from 8:00 AM to midnight on weekdays, and (913) 573-9522 from midnight to 8 AM, and during weekends and holidays.

About BPU
BPU’s water department was created in 1909, and its electric utility was operational in 1912. The purpose of the utility, then and to this day, is to provide the highest quality electric and water services at the lowest possible cost. Today the publicly owned utility serves approximately 63,000 electric and 50,000 water customers, primarily in Wyandotte County, Kansas. The mission of the utility and its employees is “to focus on the needs of our customers, to improve the quality of life in our community while promoting safe, reliable and sustainable utilities.”

UG to Enforce Mowing and Debris Removal from Vacant Lots

Uified Government LogoIn an effort to improve the overall appearance and safety of Kansas City, Kansas, the Unified Government will be streamlining the process for mowing and removal of junk and debris from lots that are not being appropriately cared for by their owner or tenant. To do so, the Unified Government will provide a single fourteen-day notice to maintain or abate your property for all mowing, trash, junk and debris violations. The goal is that no neighborhood will have to wait more than a few weeks for assistance from the Unified Government to handle an issue with a property owner or tenant that is not performing regular lawn maintenance and/or, leaving trash, junk and debris unmaintained.

The Mayor and Commission also support and are funding major enhancements to the management and maintenance of all Unified Government properties, including land bank lots and known vacant and abandoned properties. The enhancement and maintenance of all property in the community is part of the SOAR initiative. SOAR initiatives were developed through data analysis and research to address the concerns of the community about its appearance and safety, especially in the area of property maintenance.

The new procedure for dealing with Junk and Trash complaints on private property was implemented on February 01, 2017, where if violations exist for trash, junk or debris, the property will be given a “notice” and fourteen days to remove the trash, junk and debris. At the end of the fourteen days a re-inspection will occur and if the violations remain, the Unified Government will remove the trash, junk, and debris. The owner will be billed for the hours and an Administrative Citation can be issued.

Additionally, as of March 01, 2017, a similar procedure for dealing with weeds and grass complaints will also change. A single notice of violation will be provided and the property owner will have fourteen days to maintain the lawn. If violations remain after the fourteen-day notice has expired, the lawn will be mowed by the Unified Government or a contractor working for the Unified Government, and the owner of the property billed for the hours and an Administrative Citation can be issued.

An Administrative Citation has been adopted and can be applied to abatement processes. This process would add a fine in addition to the fee if the work isn’t completed by the re-inspection. For each failure to comply in a timely manner, the fine increases from $100.00 to $250.00 to $500.00. Each failed re-inspection after will be for $500.00.

KCK Women’s Chamber of Commerce Accepting 2017 Scholarship Applications

The Women’s Chamber of Commerce of Kansas City, Kansas is requesting applications for 2017 Scholarships. The scholarship amount varies based on available funds and individual need. They consider college scholarships to be of increased importance due to the rising cost of pursuing higher education. Education not only develops the personality and rationality of individuals, but prepares women to fulfill certain economic, political, and cultural functions. The WCC believes that education improves women’s socio-economic status.

Scholarships are awarded to non-traditional women students, enrolled in any post-secondary institution, and a resident of the Kansas City Metro area. Non-traditional is defined as a woman student, 24 years of age or older.

Deadline for submission of applications is May 31, 2017, by 5:00 PMClick here to view and download a copy of the scholarship application.

Please feel free to contact WCC Scholarship Committee Chair, Gayle Lee by mail or phone at (816) 805-5331

Newsletter Feature from Chuck – February 7, 2017

Good day. We hope this edition of our newsletter finds that you and yours are well.

One of our board members, Jim Schraeder, and I recently attended a conference in St. Louis entitled New Partners for Smart Growth. LISC funded our attending the 4-day event. Seminars and speakers noted what is working in efforts to revitalize cities across the US. Even in the midst of uncertainty about what may occur on the federal level, these renewal efforts generated a sense of celebration and optimism that was palpable.

I was particularly excited to learn that much of what was spotlighted is either already being implemented, or about to be, here in Kansas City, Kansas and Wyandotte County. We are very encouraged that local government, businesses, neighborhood organizations, nonprofits, and the educational community are not only welcoming best practices but also using them. Here are two examples with which DTSKCK is familiar.

Open Data. “The Unified Government collects data – a lot of data – on property records, code infractions, expenditures, streets, parks and much more. Making this data publicly available and easy to access, download and use, means residents, organizations and the UG’s public managers can use it to further the public good.”

This excerpt from a December 1, 2016, UG News release sums up what open data is about. Jim and I heard several stories about how data can be helpful to a wide variety of users. One story demonstrated how knowing the wintertime temperatures of city streets allowed street crews to use resources more effectively. Materials, fuel for vehicles, wear and tear on equipment, and personnel hours were better managed. End results included safer streets at less expense and greater public satisfaction since people could get to where they needed to be.

The UG portal can be found at YourData.wycokck.org. This effort is the topic of our In the Know Luncheon this Friday at BPU, 11:30 to 1:00. UG Chief Knowledge Officer Alan Howze, his team, and others will share some of how you, your neighborhood, your organization, and/or your business can benefit from this service. Email me at Director@nullDowntownKCK.org or visit our registration page to RSVP. Cost for lunch is $20.

Housing Choices. Simply put, funding affordable housing can be extremely complex. Not only must the numbers work but a variety of variables also have to coalesce for projects to succeed. In particular, local government has to be open to, and help facilitate, this type of investment. As common sense as this might sound, it is not always the case.

To their great credit, UG Commissioners saw the potential of 2 housing projects when they recently issued resolutions of support for both projects. DTSKCK has been fortunate to be involved with one. The Prairie Fire Development Group has plans to build 92 workforce housing units on Washington between 8th and 9th. The resolutions allow the developers to apply for tax credits from the State of Kansas, which if awarded, place no additional burden on taxpayers. The applications will be presented soon. We will share the results once they are known.

Open data. Housing Choices. Local government that continues to improve how services are provided to public and private sectors and welcomes investment. No wonder we are excited about Downtown Kansas City, Kansas. Come be a part. Come contribute. Come see why Downtown KCK is everyone’s Downtown.

Chuck Schlittler, Director
Downtown Shareholders of Kansas City, Kansas
Cell/Text: (913) 620-7480
726 Armstrong, Ste 201
Kansas City, KS 66101
Office: (913) 371-0705

Legal Advocate, Mattie Rhodes Center

The Legal Advocate for the ¡Sí, Se Puede! program will conduct education, intervention, and advocacy activities with immigrant survivors of domestic violence and related crimes; network with community partners in order to expand the survivors’ access to meaningful and culturally-competent services enhancing survivor safety, and just treatment. This position is also responsible for participating in program development/evaluation and will contribute to the implementation of the agency’s strategic initiatives. This position is a non-exempt position and flexibility in work schedule is required. Duties may be performed off agency premises and may require transporting agency participants to services. The Mattie Rhodes Center is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Department: Family Services and Support
Reports to: Clinical Supervisor


  • Provides best-practice core victim support services, individual and systems advocacy, and follow-up in a culturally competent fashion
  • Assists with crisis intake calls and provide crisis counseling to help caller identify service priorities and needs, safety planning and identification of service options (through ¡Sí, Se Puede! or other specialized agencies), scheduling follow-up contact or suitable referral, in accordance with caller’s preference
  • Provides information about Protection Orders and safety-related matters and provides assistance and support throughout the process as needed. This includes, but is not limited to help with completion and filing of petition, accompanying the victim to court hearings, helping victim safety plan around Protection Order, and providing the necessary follow-up and advocacy to maximize the effectiveness of the Order in protecting the safety of the victims
  • Networks with community victim service providers, First Responders (shelters, law enforcement officers and victim assistants, civil and criminal court officers,) and other community service providers to reduce barriers that might impede victim’s access to meaningful services
  • Educates victims about the criminal process and accompanies them to municipal and/or District Court. Also, facilitates communication between victim and the prosecutor’s office regarding victim’s questions or concerns in order to maximize the victim’s safety and level of comfort with the criminal prosecution process.
  • Screens for eligibility for immigration visa provisions under VAWA, refers to partnering immigration attorney, and assists with process in a supportive role (i.e., helps secure U Visa Certifications, assists the victim with the collection of evidence, writes letters of support as needed)


  • Completes required documentation in accordance with policies and procedures established by Mattie Rhodes Center
  • Participates in clinical supervision, group supervision and team meetings as required by supervisor
  • Performs other job assignments as required or directed and supports Mattie Rhodes Center’s public relations efforts
  • Responsible for tracking data and other documentation necessary for funders and agency reporting requirements



  • Agency staff – day to day operations


  • Participants – advise
  • Other agencies – establish contacts and refer and follow up with families
  • Total number of employees supervised – Directly: 0 Indirectly: 0


  • Ability to communicate fluently in Spanish and English (oral and written communications)
  • Undergraduate degree with emphasis in human behavior and/or services
  • Strengths-based, person-centered, and trauma informed approach to services
  • Clear understanding of confidentiality and a strong sense of professionalism
  • Willingness to contribute to the ¡Sí, Se Puede! team approach to services
  • Willingness to participate in trainings required for the position (Basic Domestic Violence Advocacy and Sexual Assault Advocacy Trainings, along with other continued educational requirements) offered through KCSDV as well as other funder-required trainings
  • One year experience in human services
  • Knowledge of community and resources
  • Interest and affinity with population of primary focus
  • Ability to prioritize and think clearly in crisis situations
  • Ability to communicate with Program Coordinator, counselors and other professionals and to observe professional boundaries both with participants and other professionals
  • Have in-depth understanding of Latino culture, including an appreciation of its strengths
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively with culturally diverse staff and populations
  • Be self-directive in managing time and work load, while remaining open to seeking guidance from
    supervisor or requesting technical assistance, as needed


  • Two years or more of experience within a nonprofit agency completing duties similar to those outlined
  • Experience in organizing and making community presentations and/or facilitating workshops
  • Knowledge of local courts, law enforcement and immigration law as they relate to domestic violence
  • Experience with facilitating groups

To apply for this position or learn more, visit Mattie Rhodes Center’s employment opportunities page.

Small Business Resources for February 2017

DTSKCK’s Small Business Grant Program
Description: Our grant program assists the small business owner or entrepreneur with “gap filling,” something our research indicates is greatly needed. Follow the link to learn more and apply.

SBA Certification and Government Contracting
Description: Government Contracting can be a critical tool for growing your business and increasing your bottom line. While not all small businesses are suitable for government contracting, SBA has several certification programs and a business development program designed to help those who are socially and economically disadvantage.

Competitive Advantage
Description: What sets you apart from your competition? Learn how to get a competitive advantage with this course. Learn how to brand, study your competition, identify customers and their preferences, create pricing strategies and much more. Leverage the uniqueness of your business to create a real competitive advantage.

Understanding Your Customer
Description: Knowing your customer is a vital part of effectively selling your product or service. This course will introduce you to tools and resources that will help you understand your customer and increase sales.

Customer Service
Description: This self-paced training exercise is an introduction to customer service and how it impacts your businessTopics include: Defining what good customer service is, implementing good customer service, and how to improve customer service.

Establishing Values for Your Business
Description: The values and culture of your company have a direct effect on your employees, customers and ultimately your bottom line. What are you doing to establish, cultivate and grow this precious commodity? This course will introduce you to the processes of implementing company values for your company by including input from stakeholders and customers. Learn about the steps in the planning process, potential problems you may face, and how to implement your company’s values using a strategic plan.

Introduction to Human Resources
Description: Human resource management plays a critical role for small businesses, so as a small business owner it is important that you understand the main human resource management issues. This course will provide an overview of human resource management for entrepreneurs. It describes the important principles and processes used in human resource management.

Legal Requirements for Small Business
Description: As a small business owner, do you know what your federal, state, and local legal obligations are? This course will give you an overview of the legal requirements of small business owners.

Finding and Attracting Investors
Description: This self-paced training exercise provides an introduction to finding and attracting investors.Topics include determining the need for outside financing, defining what an investor is and where to find them, explaining the investment process and understanding investor expectations.


January 2017 Resources

BPU Board Adopts Electric Rate Adjustment

The Board of Directors for the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities recently adopted a proposed adjustment to the electric base rate, as well as modifications to the environmental surcharge (ESC), to meet future revenue requirements for the utility. The modifications are necessary to maintain the integrity of the utility’s electric transmission, distribution, and production systems, and to meet growth needs in the community over the next five years.

While increases will vary among customer groups based on costs of service and usage levels, the BPU Board finalized a recommended 4.0% overall annual increase in the electric base rates for 2017 beginning March 1, and 4.0% in 2018. These adjustments were based on future electric utility revenue requirements and a Cost of Service and Rate Report that is completed every three years by outside industry experts. Based on these adjustments, the average residential customer’s base rate will increase by approximately $5.14 a month in 2017, a little more than fifteen cents a day. In addition, the Board provided for a modification to the ESC allowing for a recovery of an additional.30 coverage, or 1.3 times the annual debt service on bonds associated with environmental capital projects. This ESC offset for environmental debt coverage will result in an increase of approximately $2.50 a month in the average residential customer’s bill.

A formal public hearing process was initiated in late 2016, and based on a Cost of Service Rate Study completed by Black and Veatch, BPU staff recommended several adjustments. The hearing process provided opportunities to discuss rate adjustments; environmental surcharges, billing processes, fuel cost procedures, and required capital improvement projects. Two formal public hearings were held on January 24th and January 25th, 2017. Following this process, the Board of Director adopted the recommended rate adjustments at their regular Board meeting on February 1, 2017.

The recent electric base rate and ESC adjustments were necessary for a variety of reasons, including among others:

  • BPU needs to invest more than $222 million in non-environmental capital improvements to maintain the integrity of the utility system.
  • The utility hasn’t adjusted rates in three years, with the last increase in 2013, and rates are below the national average and that of surrounding utilities.
  • Postponing an adjustment would delay capital and aging infrastructure improvements needed to support new growth in our community and may cause delays or service disruptions in certain areas.
  • Inflationary pressures on costs of outside services, materials, and labor continue to increase.
  • BPU has worked with an average of only 65 days of operating cash on hand over the last three years (with 90 days recommended to maintain solid credit ratings).

BPU remains one of the top-ranked publicly-owned utilities in the country, providing affordable and reliable energy for nearly 110 years. Today it services 65,000 electric customers, manages two active power stations, 29 substations, 3,000 miles of electric lines, 19,000 streetlights, and 9,000 traffic signal heads.

The utility has taken concerted steps to control costs and streamline operations over time, without threatening service interruptions or future growth needs. The FY17 Budget recently adopted by the Board reduced spending by nearly 25 percent, and the previous budget reduced 30 full-time equivalent staff positions from prior years. In the last six years, BPU has decreased overall staff levels by 55 positions. It has also effectively managed a reduction of expenses, with Operating and Maintenance (O&M) expenses in 2016 only one percent higher than they were in 2010, and the same O&M budget level it had in 2012.