A Coalition Was Born!
The Marlborough Community Coalition was born out of advocacy for affordable, quality health care for the uninsured and underserved living in the south urban core of the city. In 2007, Clyde Bolton, then Deputy Director of the KCMO Health Department, asked Pastor Hubert McDonald of Evangel Spiritual Temple (85th and Flora) if he could pull together a few neighbors to talk about the need for an affordable health clinic in south KC. It was the early exploratory work for the eventual siting of the Swope Health Care Clinic at 91st and Troost. Those around the table soon began talking about other pressing problems such as blight, unemployment, and housing foreclosures which were affecting residents throughout the Marlborough Pride, Marlborough Renaissance, Battle Flood Heights, Walnut Grove, and Marlborough East neighborhoods. A “better together” spirit took hold.
Mr. Bolton brought the Local Investment Commission (LINC) into the conversation. LINC brought Legal Aid of Western Missouri and Legal Aid brought a partner with the then named law firm, Stinson Morrison Hecker, LLC. In 2008, the Marlborough Community Coalition became a 501(c)(3) organization led by a board of directors.
In 2009, the Coalition successfully prevented the closure of the Marlborough Community Center. The Parks Department proposed to save only 0.4% of its total annual budget by closing the Center. It was (and remains) the only publicly accessible indoor recreation and learning venue for Marlborough children after school, in the evenings, on Saturdays, and in the summer.
A Vision for A Better Community Ignites Advocacy and Problem Solving
With the success of preventing the closure of the Marlborough Community Center, the Coalition gained its footing in organizing neighbors and advocating for the needs and vision of local residents. We were also empowered by working with other community groups, non-profit organizations, businesses, elected representatives, and government employees that understood the neighborhood’s needs and supported its vision. To this day, community partnerships are fundamental to Coalition’s work.
Coalition accomplishments from 2009 to the present include a wide-range of activities…
- grocery store advocacy
- bus route improvements
- commercial and residential beautification award programs
- nuisance business resolution
- renaming of the Troost Street bridge over 85th Street to “Marlborough Troost Bridge”
- hosting the Beans & Greens Weekly Mobile Farmer’s Market for two seasons at Center Elementary School
- entering into a Community Benefit Agreement with the developers repurposing the former Robeson School into a senior housing and all-ages recreational center
- bringing the Tulips on Troost program south of 75th Street
- securing renovation of the historic fountain at 79th and Paseo and renaming it from “Boy and a Fish” to “Marlborough Plaza Fountain”
- co-sponsoring Mayoral and City Council Candidate Forums
- touring Mayoral Candidates and a sitting Mayor on KCPT televised tours of Marlborough
- securing 5 Land Bank lots to serve as neighborhood pocket parks
- working closely KCPD’s Metro Patrol officers particularly regarding drug houses, squatters living in vacant houses, gang activity and property crimes
- supporting the creating of community garden and food pantry in Marlborough.
Signature Activities and Accomplishments – To Date!
- Nine years of co-sponsoring neighborhood clean-ups
- Active use of the Missouri Abandoned Housing Act and The Homesteading Act in partnership with Legal Aid of Western Missouri and Stinson Leonard Street to rehabilitate long-vacant and nuisance houses
- $500,000 in Public Improvement Advisory Committee (PIAC) funding for parking lot expansion at the Marlborough Community Center and for construction of a shelter and off-street parking at Marlborough Park (82nd & Brooklyn)
- Competed against municipalities across the metro area for a $100,000 Sustainable Places Planning study which resulted in the “Catalyst Plan”, a comprehensive neighborhood assessment and action plan based on the input and prioritization of hundreds of Marlborough residents
- Founding of Artzpalooza in 2014, the city’s only youth focused arts festival
- Sponsorship of community engagement process leading to a pedestrian friendly zoning overlay district in the historic Marlborough Village
- $150,000 PIAC funding for community engagement and preliminary planning for neighborhood uses of the 82nd and Troost, Rachel Morado and Arleta Park green infrastructure sites designed initially for only storm water retention
- $350,000 PIAC funding for construction of community amenities identified by residents for the Arleta Park and Rachel Morado green infrastructure sites
- $500,000 PIAC funding for construction of a Nature + Play area and other improvements identified by residents for the green infrastructure site located at 82nd and Troost
- $1,750,000 General Obligation Bond funding for construction of a major portion of a 2.5 mile “Livable Streets Corridor” (bike/walking path and streetscaping) connecting the green infrastructure sites at 82nd and Troost, Rachel Morado Drive and Arleta Park with Ride KC MAX transit stops on both Troost and Prospect
Marlborough’s Future is Bright
Every day people just like you – residents, business owners, landlords, and partners from all walks of life – pitch in to make Marlborough a healthier, more sustainable and vibrant community.
Please join activities shared on the Coalition’s Facebook page, Twitter feed or monthly digital newsletter. Contact us via email with your idea for becoming involved. Donate to build the capacity of the Coalition or to support a specific project.
Marlborough’s future is bright and we look forward to your involvement in making that bright future a reality!