The history of the Marlborough neighborhoods tells the larger story of Kansas City’s growth, decline, and current search for sustainable models of community-building. Click on the milestones graphic below for a concise look at this history and recent accomplishments, or download a pdf of the timeline here.
To see historic imagery, and learn more about the founding of Marlborough neighborhoods, click here.
The 2013 neighborhood planning process, called the Catalyst Plan, was an 8-month process to study the neighborhood challenges, assets, and priorities, and identify community champions and projects that would address these priorities. This process aimed to build new community networks, provide an empowering path to achieve community goals, and inspire action on projects and programs that will create the future that Marlborough residents, businesses, and organizations envision. The following milestones in the planning process were designed to support these outcomes, and are provided here as examples of a replicable process.
The team began with a Marlborough Tour led by members of the Marlborough Community Coalition Board to meet community members, see all five neighborhoods, and understand the lay of the land, first hand.
Kickoff meeting with the Advisory team. Individuals with expertise and a stake in the revitalization of the Marlborough community were invited to join an Advisory team. An initial meeting together identified overall goals for the process and the work groups that members would join.
Neighborhood walkabout and visioning survey: Marlborough Community Coalition board members, Catalyst Project team members and volunteers went door to door in each of the five neighborhoods to collect input on key questions about neighborhood assets, challenges and the community’s vision for its future.
Work Group meetings. The Healthy Food work group, Arts and Social Services work group, Mobility work group, Development work group, Communications and outreach work group, and Marlborough School redevelopment work group held meetings in the community, to collect and review topic-based information as well as uncover new opportunities for community assets. Throughout the 8-month process these work groups grew with additional community members who became interested in participating. Through this process, opportunities were refined and prioritized for action.
Recreation Express. Catalyst Project team participation at a Parks Department touring community event to promote involvement the planning process, including entries in the photo contest, and submission of ideas for the BREAD KC! Community Dinner. The team also took this opportunity to informally interview residents and business owners in attendance about the challenges and treasures of Marlborough.
Bread KC! Community Dinner, and fundraiser for creative projects intended to inspire and benefit the neighborhoods. This event was designed to gather ideas from the community, but also to be a replicable model for gathering community members together and supporting innovative grassroots growth.
Photography Contest: Share Marlborough’s Hidden Treasures! This contest was open to all residents of the five Marlborough neighborhoods. It was designed to gather information about what people who live and work in the area appreciate about their community. It also developed a model for mentoring and recognition of creative engagement.
Catalyst Workshop: The consultant team and Advisory Committee prioritized the opportunities in each topic area (Identity and Communication, Arts and Social Services, Healthy Food, Mobility, Development and School Redevelopment) that the work groups have determined are the best ways to achieve community goals. See the presentation at this link for an introduction to all of the opportunities discussed at this meeting.
Taste of Marlborough: This public event was the official handoff of the plan to the community and a call to action for involvement in projects going forward. Project teams were formed with community leaders, regular meeting dates were set, and first steps were strategized. The event culminated in a community meal provided by local restaurants, caterers, bakers, and urban farmers.