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Parks and boulevard system

Kansas City has 132 miles (212 km) of spacious boulevards and parkways, 214 urban parks, 49 ornamental fountains, 152 ball diamonds, 10 community centers, 105 tennis courts, five golf courses, five museums and attractions, 30 pools, and 47 park shelters, all overseen by the city's Parks and Recreation department.[31][32] The parks and boulevard system winds its way through the city. Much of the system, designed by George E. Kessler, was constructed from 1893 to 1915. Cliff Drive, in Kessler Park on the North Bluffs, is a designated State Scenic Byway. It extends 4.27 miles (6.87 km) from The Paseo and Independence Avenue through Indian Mound on Gladstone Boulevard at Belmont Boulevard with many historical points and architectural landmarks. Ward Parkway, on the west side of the city near State Line Road, is lined by many of the city's most handsome homes. The Paseo is a major northЦsouth parkway that runs 19 miles (31 km) through the center of the city beginning at Cliff Drive. It was modeled on the Paseo de la Reforma, a fashionable Mexico City boulevard. Swope Park is one of the nation's largest city parks, comprising 1,805 acres (2.82 sq. mi.), more than twice as big as New York's Central Park.[33] It features a full-fledged zoo, a woodland nature and wildlife rescue center, two golf courses, two lakes, an amphitheatre, day-camp area, and numerous picnic grounds. Hodge Park, in the Northland, covers 1,029 acres (1.61 sq. mi.). This park includes the 80-acre (320,000 m2) Shoal Creek Living History Museum, a village of more than 20 historical buildings dating from 1807 to 1885. Riverfront Park, 955 acre

(3.86 km2) on the banks of the Missouri River on the north edge of downtown, holds annual Fourth of July celebrations and other festivals during the year. A program went underway to replace many of the fast-growing sweetgum trees with hardwood varieties. George Edward Kessler (July 16, 1862 Ц March 20, 1923) was a German American pioneer city planner and landscape architect. Over the course of his forty-one year career, George E. Kessler completed over 200 projects and prepared plans for 26 communities, 26 park and boulevard systems, 49 parks, 46 estates & residents, and 26 schools.[1] His projects can be found in 23 states, 100 cities, in places as farflung as Shanghai, New York, and Mexico City.[2] "Planning", wrote Kessler, "should be comprehensive. Even though a grand urban design could only be realized in bits and pieces, and over a long period of years, still we should always know where we are going. Each bit and piece should be understandable by reference to the great plan of which it is a part. Planning must also be relevant to the particular city: its geography, its economic character, all its local peculiarities. We must," Kessler insisted, "deal with it in its application to the entire city. The object is to make cities decent places for masses of people to live in. Cities grow mostly by accident in response to trends in the real estate market. Very little thought is given to their qualitative characters. But there comes a time when development must be subject to control, when further growth must be planned such that urbanization will no longer proceed at the expense of devastating 'nature.