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Heart of the City

Vision for a Healthy Action Area

The Heart of the City Corridor is a 300-acre tract with 40 acres of forest along a stream segment on never developed land, and 65 acres of contiguous vacant land largely owned by the Kansas City Land Bank. This area drains into Brush Creek and was identified as significant to the nearby Palestine neighborhood during an EPA Urban Waters Small Grant vacant lots analysis conducted by HCA. The vacant parcels connect the urban forest to another Action Area, the 444-acre Municipal Farm.

About Heart of the City 

The Heart of the City Corridor is located in the heart of Kansas City, Mo. and the Lower River Watershed. This is a largely urbanized section of the watershed with mainly residential land use. The Heart of the City Corridor has a large amount of vacant lots located inside its boundaries, leading to waste dumping, blight, and limited reuse impacting local health and resources. These vacant lots have the potential to make a powerful impact on the local community. 

Heart of City Garden.jpg
Focal Species: Ruby-throated hummingbird
Total Acres in Action Area


Keystone Ecosystems/Habitats

Restored Urban Forest

Summary of Threats

  • Illegal waste dumping

  • Air pollution

  • Flooding

  • Lack of healthy food options, distance to food

  • Lack of healthy recreation options

© Brian Lasenby
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Action Area Management Goals

“Green space is a foundational element of healthy cities and communities. When we restore vacant spaces with green elements, we absorb more stormwater, prevent flooding, and keep our rivers clean” (UNI Vacant to Vibrant, 2015). In as little as 10 years, these vacant lots could be revitalized, connecting local green spaces with the larger Blue River corridor of trails and recreation spots. Restoring vacant lots improves the health of the urban tree canopy, critical for community resilience to effects from climate change.


While there are many organizations and individuals working to protect undeveloped natural areas in this Action Area, this Plan highlights a few Alliance members that are leading successful projects to meet the goals of this plan, including: 

  • KC Land Bank

  • Heartland Conservation Alliance

  • Midwest GeoInfo, Missouri Dept. of Conservation

  • Chestnut Resource Center

  • Health Forward Foundation


Indicators of Health


The Blue River Action Plan prioritizes projects to maintain or improve health indicators. We're focusing on the following indicators for the Heart of the City. 

Water Quality






Summary of Conservation Priorities

  • Maintain and improve health and sustainability of forests in the watershed

  • Establish and maintain conservation practices that contribute significantly to minimizing stormwater runoff, improving water quality, improving air quality, reducing heat islands, etc.

  • Maintain and establish quality wildlife habitat

  • Maintain and improve the health and sustainability of native grasses, forbs, and trees in the watershed

  • Establish opportunities for recreation

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