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Construction on Merriam Lane
Year in Review: Building a strong, healthy community in 2015
By: Admin
Dec 22, 2015

To reach Rosedale Development Association’s mission of building a strong, healthy community, we set goals in the areas of economic, social, physical, and environmental health. But what does that look like when translated into real life? Here are just of the few of the ways life in Rosedale changed for the better in 2015, thanks to RDA’s focus on building a healthy and strong community:

Economic health

The 47th and Mission Rd. corridor in Rosedale has experienced a lot of changes in recent years, and 2015 was no different. This past year the Fairway North Shopping Center became Northwood and new businesses announced they would begin moving into the area.

The redevelopment of the corridor is partly due to the 47th and Mission Rd. Committee, which includes representatives from the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and KCK (UG), Westwood, KS, and Roeland Park, KS. Heidi Holliday, RDA’s Executive Director, was appointed by the mayor to serve on the committee as a representative of the UG and Rosedale.

“The committee acts as the overlay district, so major development comes to us for review, to see if it fits with our plan for the area,” Scott Bingham, Chair of the committee, said. “We have been helping to guide the final development of the Northwood shopping center.”

A project, Bingham says, in which RDA was a key player.

“With Northwood, Heidi played a key role in some of the feedback we received. She had some key comments in the review process about the local community’s needs about that project,” Bingham said.

Social health

In 2015, RDA sought to do the impossible: to hear from everyone in Rosedale through the Rosedale Community Survey. More than 5,000 households received the survey and over 800 Rosedalians completed it. While this wasn’t literally every Rosedale resident, it was more than enough to apply the results to the whole community.

“I thought it was important to give feedback,” Rosedale resident Gloria Fileto said about why she filled out her community survey. “I’ve lived here for 12, going on 13, years, and I’ve seen a real change in this community and in the people.”

The results from the survey will not only inform the 2015- 2016 Rosedale Master Plan update, but they will help guide RDA’s future vision and goals.

Runners on the Rozarks trails during the Rosedale Retro Run

Runners of all ages “broke in” the Rozarks trails at the Rosedale Retro Run.

Physical health

2015 was also a big year for improvements to Rosedale’s walkability. From improvements to the Rozarks nature trails to new sidewalks, our community became safer, healthier, and more accessible for alternative transportation.

This spring we welcomed a team of National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) members to help us build trails, grow gardens, and fix some homes. In just six weeks they helped us build 0.25 miles of trail, bringing our total to 3.5 miles.

But nature trails weren’t the only thing built in Rosedale this year. Sidewalks along Mission Rd. and 42nd Ave. in the Hilltop neighborhood were also finished. This not only improved Frank Rushton Elementary School’s walking school bus route, but now all residents of the area have a safe way to access Rosedale Park and businesses on Rainbow Blvd.

“Kids that do the Walking School Bus have expressed an increased focus in their classes,” Peter Wetzel, third grade teacher and Walking School Bus leader at Frank Rushton Elementary, said. “They have told me that they feel more awake and ready for school on mornings they walk with the school bus.”

Environmental health

While road construction can improve a neighborhood’s safety and walkability, it can also improve the health of the environment. That is exactly what happened with the construction along Merriam Lane in 2015.

For years, Merriam Lane struggled with flooding problems because of the lack of stormwater drainage systems. Thanks to federal, state, and local transportation funding, the UG was able to resurface the street, build curbs and stormwater drainage — and, because of Wyandotte County’s Complete Streets resolution, the enhancements also included new sidewalks and bike lanes.