The 1893 Report of the Board of Park and Boulevard Commissioners is a “detailed and comprehensive look at Kansas City’s topography and traffic patterns, population density and growth, its industrial and residential sections, and its prospects for future development. It was, in a word, planning. It contained three primary sections: a letter of transmittal to the mayor; a detailed report from the board, and a technical report [engineer’s report].(1) George Kessler wrote the engineer’s report and August R. Meyer wrote the main body of the report.
The Report of the Commissioners covers the Growth of the Sentiment in Favor of Parks in Kansas City; Aim and Justification of Park Improvement; Preliminary Work of the Park Commission; The Value of Beauty; The City's Duty; Effect of Parkways or Boulevards Upon Real Estate Values; and Experience of Other Cities.
Open The Report of the Commissioners as 5.2 MB pdf
The middle section includes “The Improvement of Kansas City” which provides a detailed description of the topography of the city; “Proposed Reservations and Construction” makes specific boulevard recommendations; identifies “Local Parks and Pleasure-Grounds;” and describes “Play-Ground or Public Square.”
Open The Improvement of Kansas City section as 10.1 MB pdf
The “Report of the Engineer” presents the establishment of parks and boulevards from the standpoint of design and construction.
Open the Report of the Engineer as 4.3 MB pdf
The final section of the 1893 Report is “The New Park Law” which allows for the acquisition of land for parks and boulevards, special assessments, management, and sell of park land.
Open The New Park Law as 1.8 MB pdf
The Board of Park and Recreation Commissioners received its power from the park article in the 1889 city charter, as amended in 1892. The amendment required the board to issue bonds for improvements. A 1893 state law empowered the board to issue “certificates,” actually bonds on the land in the park districts rather than on the city itself, which could be repaid to the holders of the certificates at 7 per cent annual interest over a long term. This and other provisions of the act reappear in the charter amendment of 1895, which differed little from the legislation.
Open the Amendment to the City Charter in Relation to Parks and Boulevards, Adopted June 6, 1895 as 7.1 MB pdf
(1) “The City Beautiful Movement in Kansas City” Wilson Winn, 1964, The Lowell Press, Inc., pp. 46-47.