Westwood Park neighborhood life revolves around parkland

Much of the activity in the Westwood Park neighborhood of Midtown centers around this park, a favorite spot for winter sledding, dog walking and picnics.

The heart  of the Westwood Park neighborhood is the 9.3 acre park on the edge of its border.

The  neighborhood, tucked into the area behind Pembroke Hill School on Ward Parkway, is home to 300 families. They range from retired folks to families with young children, and live in a variety of homes from single-family bungalows to much larger spaces.

But for homeowners association president Aryn Roth, life centers around the park.

“It’s one of the premier sledding places in Kansas City. As soon as snow starts to fall, you hear yipping” and people are headed to the park, she says.

The park is a hub of activity all year, not just in winter. In addition to other activities, the park attracts dog lovers.

“There’s a group of people who meet after work and walk their dogs and socialize,” Roth says.

The neighborhood, and adjacent West Plaza neighborhood help maintain the park. Recently, they obtained public improvement advisory committee (PIAC) funding from the city to make improvements to lighting and shelters.

Westwood Park was built by the real estate developer J.C. Nichols as one of the Country Club District neighborhoods. Like the others, it has a  home owners’ association which is a member of the Homes Association of Kansas City alliance of 53 associations. Roth says the board of directors meets once a month, and the association has an annual meeting and a picnic and barbecue each year.

Recently, the neighborhood association has been involved in efforts to repurpose Swinney School, which is just outside the neighborhood boundaries. It is one of the schools being sold by the Kansas City School District and a developer hopes to convert it to apartments.

The biggest challenge for the neighborhood, Roth says, is attracting and keeping  families with children. While some neighbors send their children to Catholic schools or the nearby Pembroke Hill private school, the neighborhood also sees families move “a block away” across the Kansas border as their children enter school, Roth says.

“Schools are the number one problem for everyone in Kansas City,” she adds.

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Neighbors maintain this triangle in Westwood Park just off Ward Parkway between Wyoming and 50th Street.

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