Region 7 EJ Showcase Community: Kansas City Metropolitan Area
Grants & Programs Topics
EJ Showcase Communities by Region
EPA Region 7 has identified 11 neighborhoods in the metropolitan area that have many risk factors including poor housing conditions and increased exposure to environmental hazards. EPA is conducting an assessment to identify specific sources of pollution and will work with neighborhood leaders to prioritize community concerns. Strategies to address these concerns will be developed through these partnerships.
- Provided training on water monitoring techniques to 20 community members who then monitored water quality in five urban lakes.
- Supported an all-day training workshop on Emergency Planning Community Right-to-Know (EPCRA).
- Supported a ten-week environmental awareness program.
- Supported an “Essentials for Healthy Home Practitioners” course for 50 participants.
- Hosted an urban agriculture workshop for 30 attendees.
- Sampled 15 urban lots to help community members assess whether the lots are safe for gardening and agricultural production.
- Supported community youths to produce video interviews with local elders on histories of local water bodies.
EPA Region 7 identified economically-distressed neighborhoods in the Kansas City metropolitan area for its Showcase Community. Risk factors in these neighborhoods include increased exposure to environmental hazards and poor housing conditions. Participating neighborhoods have identified the following environmental concerns:
- air quality,
- vacant and abandoned property,
- poor housing conditions,
- lack of clean water,
- storm water and flooding,
- lack of urban farming,
- illegal dumping and improper waste disposal, and
- children’s health issues.
Region 7 hosted a community dialogue focusing on project planning for the Showcase. Community participants encouraged EPA to emphasize environmental education and awareness, and youth engagement throughout the Showcase efforts. As a result of the meeting, three project areas are being addressed through the Showcase Community Project:
- Urban Water:
- Water Monitoring/Fish Consumption - Kansas City urban lakes and streams which are common fishing locations are included in the Region 7 monitoring activities. Monitoring kits have been given to the Blue River Watershed Association for youth water monitoring activities. Fish consumption education will be provided to locals involved in subsistence fishing.
- Intergenerational Video Project - Youth will interview local elders regarding the historical interaction with water and how it played an integral part in their life. This is in hopes to encourage youth to reconnect with local water bodies.
- Healthy Communities:
- Healthy Homes Training - A train-the-trainer approach will be used in Healthy Homes training. The target audience for this training is neighborhood leaders and staff from local community service organizations who support and engage with individuals and households who may face healthy homes challenges and who may be impacted by the associated health concerns.
- Community Emergency Preparedness Training - Neighborhood leaders and local community service staff will receive information from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Mid-America Regional Council (MARC), and EPA with regards to metro-area emergency plans, household emergency preparedness, and chemical risks within the community.
- Youth Environmental Awareness and Involvement - In partnership with the Greater Kansas City Boys and Girls Club Region 7 is helping to integrate environmental education into the curriculum presented to middle school and high school aged youth.
- Urban Agriculture - Re-use of Vacant and Abandoned Property Through:
- Neighborhoods within the Showcase Community area have identified spaces that are proposed agriculture sites. Region 7 will provide soil sampling and technical assistance to interpret sampling results.
- Region 7 and Showcase partners will provide technical assistance workshops to assist with site design, plant selection, and business planning. The soil sampling and technical assistance listed above are being provided through EJ Showcase resources and support from local partners.
For more information or to become involved, please contact Althea Moses (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 913-551-7649.