Historic Manheim Park

The History of the Green Team

The History of The Historic Manheim Park Green Team

                I thought it important to write the short history of the green team while it is somewhat fresh in my mind because I think it will at some point become important in a number of areas we will find ourselves. It all began with a tour of Greensburg, KS provided by Congressman Cleaver and his staff to seed the fertile fields of our minds as we began the process of working on his initiative “The Green Impact Zone” or fondly referred to as GIZMO. The town of Greensburg had been hit by a tornado and was practically reduced to rubble when the town decided to rebuild but rebuild differently. As we toured the town and I witnessed the stark emptiness and the beginning stages of hope my mind started racing. I became flooded with ideas but also with as many questions as ideas. Was this possible to do Kansas City? Could urban people be able to come together and cooperate? Could they overcome the years of apathy and broken promises to embrace a new way to live?

                As I and Congressman Cleaver explored the many development projects that were completed and being completed we both began to brainstorm ideas about what could be possible in Kansas City. There was a presentation done by a group called “Green Town” that was doing a 12 home model neighborhood of LEED standard homes. I spoke with representatives of that group and mentioned possibly becoming an affiliate in Kansas City. The group was open to the possibility but needed more information to seriously consider the idea. I left Greensburg excited but also a bit confused as to whether the ideas being carried out in a small rural community could be transferred to a large urban area.

                When I arrived home to Kansas City I immediately began to research sustainability efforts in other parts of the country. As I read about some of the many efforts being undertaken by other communities I became more convinced that with the right people and the right planning we could in fact replicate some of those concepts here. It was at that point that I sent out this email:

After a recent tour of Greensburg, KS by city and neighborhood leaders sponsored by Congressman Emmanuel Cleaver I wanted to contact you concerning this project in Kansas City. I don’t know if you are familiar with the Congressman’s initiative but I have attached some documentation to give you some background on its scope and purpose. My reason for contacting you is that as the board President of Historic Manheim Park a neighborhood within the Green Impact Zone (GIZ) I wanted to discuss some ideas I had concerning our neighborhood becoming a model of green technology within the GIZ through the use of model homes and model home rehabilitations. As Kansas City and the nation begins to focus on the concept of going green I thought this would be a perfect opportunity for us to demonstrate in an actual urban environment the many technologies and products of the green industry. Since most of our citizens in America live in urban settings I thought this would give other urban planners a place to view and interact with green technology while at the same time allowing product manufacturers and industry experts to put their ideas and products on display in real life settings. My concept would be to develop a “green team” to study our neighborhood and develop a comprehensive and strategic plan of converting existing homes and also to create a showcase of new home ideas that could then be presented to Congressman Cleaver and city leaders for implementation. I have also included some links to local newspaper coverage of the GIZ. I look forward to hearing from you and to hear your feedback on this proposed plan.





Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter,

As you can see we have assembled a very a strong team that is representative of many groups and entities that are vital not only to our project, but to our city. While we are still in our infancy we have accepted the mantle to make Historic Manheim Park the “greenest neighborhood in the world” by 2015. Many will say that our goal is too ambitious and we are foolhardy to even attempt it, but we believe that too often we have set our sights on goals that did not require imagination and innovation and have collapse under their own weight. We have begun to have meetings and have created the following committees to oversee and direct our efforts:

  1. Community Development
  2. Planning
  3. Funding
  4. Housing

I have to admit I was skeptical with this project at the outset but as it has evolved and I have seen the dedication and efforts of those who have given of themselves and their professional talents I am encouraged more each day. I believe we have the opportunity to do something great not just for Manheim Park but for our city and hopefully our nation. And I believe that vision is shared by the many folks on that list who have collectively said, “We are not going to stay where we are.”

And that as they say is how the ball got rolling. I sent this or a similar email out to every architect, builder, city official, and anyone who was affiliated with green technology not just in Kansas City, but in the US. As a result of that first email we have been able to assemble the following people and organizations:


Name Organization or Affiliation
Alaina Beverly White House Urban Affairs Office
Alexai Dowell
Ah'Lee Robinson Kansas City Young Audiences
Amy Walker Hathmore Technologies
Arlene Fisher Manheim Park Resident
Augusta Wilbon NHS
Ann Jenkins Manheim Park Resident
Ben Allers Gastinger, Walker, Harden Architects
Bill Harris Sustained Energy Systems
Bryce Lawrence Patty Banks & Associates
Carol Grimaldi Brush Creek Community Partners
Chrissy Wolfersberg EPA
Craig Colbert Habitat for Humanity
Curt Rohner Henderson Engineers/Historic Green
Danny Rotert Congressman Cleavers Office
Dave Albers Equity Linc (Flatirons)
David Dowell El Dorado Architects
Debra Huwar Kansas City Young Audiences
Denise Douglas Manheim Park Resident
Dustin Jensen Kansas City Energy
Dustin Schafer Henderson Engineers/Historic Green
Eddie Tapper Kansas City Design Build
Gerald Shechter City of Kansas City, MO
Glyndia Lang Manheim Park Resident
Ingrid Pelger Manheim Park Resident
Jamal Ali Green Activist & Author
Janet Baker United States Green Builders
Jay Guerra Kansas City Home Builders
Jeremy Knoll PGAV Architects
Jim Wanser Rockhill Homes Association President
Kelley Hrabe NetGiver
Kevin Enyeart Gale Communities
Kumud Pyakuryal Tetra Tech Technologies
Marc Philpart Policy Link
Mark Stalsworth NHS
Martinez Denman Manheim Park Resident
Mason Earles Greensburg Green Town
Michael O’Connell Hayes Insulation
Michael Joyce Manheim Park Resident
Mike Hoey Community Volunteer
Obiagele Lake Manheim Park Resident
Pastor Stan Archie Christian Fellowship Church
Paul Cook Hyde Park Resident
Phil Perry Kansas City Home Builders
Rachel Stroer BNIM Architects
Robert Housh Metropolitan Energy Center
Robert McLaughlin McLaughlin Design
Ryan Evans Henderson Engineers/Historic Green
Sarita Cann Manheim Park Resident
Shaye Stevens What Works Project
Sheoni L. Jenkins Liberty Bank
Shirley Winn Kansas City Housing Department
Stephen Hardy BNIM Architects
Susan Brown The Energy Store
Suzanne M. Niemeyer Manheim Park Resident
Tom Neff City of Kansas City, MO
Venita Fain-Siffre Manheim Park Resident
Yahna Gibson Habitat for Humanity
Yoshi Shiraki Manheim Park Property Owner
Posted by manheim on 09/29/2009
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