Middle Blue River - Program Updates
Reclaiming Vacant Properties 2016 Conference
Around 1,000 participants from various communities attended the conference themed around "In the Service of People and Place," which examined how reclaiming vacant properties can improve the quality of life of those in surrounding areas. At the close of the conference, members of the Patapsco and Middle Blue River Urban Waters Partnerships discussed strategies for vacant land greening.
Middle Blue Partner and new location Ambassador, The Heartland Conservation Alliance (HCA), has piloted their Green Guard environmental stewardship program at East High School in Kansas City, Missouri. Stewards from East High School learn to connect to the natural resources in their own neighborhood and school grounds, where there is a ten acre forest patch, and learn to take care of them. The goals of the program are to protect and restore natural resources in urban neighborhoods, provide our partner organizations with skilled bolunteers from diverse neighborhoods, and enhance their quality of life by increasing access to nature. The program was created by the VISTAs assigned to the partnership by the Department of the Interior.
Parks with Purpose
The Heartland Conservation Alliance has kicked off planning for a Parks with Purpose project with the Marlborough Coalition of Neighborhoods in Kansas City, Missouri. The Conservation Fund program assists park development in places that are in need of both green space and economic development, using private funds from UHaul leveraged with local partnerships and resources. In Kansas City, the park will be developed in collaboration with the Marlborough Coalition on a city-block sized green infrastructure project being installed by Kansas City Water Services, and will be used to model meaningful city, neighborhood, conservation, and arts collaboration.
April 2-May 6
The partnership will launch a "Renew the Blue" brand for the Blue River during a series of events taking place, commemorating the completion of the Blue River Flood Management project which began construction in 1983. The series kicks off with the 26th Project Blue River Rescue on April 2nd, a river clean-up that brings in over one thousand volunteers. Each week until May 6th, there is an event celebrating a sector -- business, education, trails, and more. The culminating event for dignitaries is May 6th and will feature a series of posters and speeches commemorating the 40 plus year project and the severe flooding it is preventing. This event wil also feature "Renew the Blue" as the future of the river, and will highlight the Middle Blue River Urban Waters Federal Partnership with tours of the Municipal Farm and the Brush Creek and Blue River Confluence.