Livable Streets Advisory Board News

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Walking Lee’s Summit’s Parks

When the pandemic hit this year, routines were interrupted everywhere. The young and the old seem to have been hit particularly hard. My 93-year-old mother, who was active in her church and family life was suddenly confined a great deal to the house. She bought lots of jigsaw puzzles, completed her crosswords, even joined the 21st century by reading books on a kindle she bought when the library buildings closed. But like many of us, life no longer held as much interest and activities to involve her mind and body. We had always walked, but walking became more important as time began to drag through the pandemic isolation. Initially we embraced the stay at home orders as okay, thinking we will get through this and do some cleaning and home repairs we have put off. Well, that lasted for about a month. Having never experienced a pandemic we thought it would last a few months, but that did not happen. So, we had to look at other ways to cope.

We decided we needed to expand our daily routine from walking our usual Hartman and Lowenstein Parks  to other parks in Lee’s Summit. We did our research and set up perimeters to parks that had at least a .5-mile trail and parking available. We established our goal to walk every park in Lee’s Summit that met these criteria. We discovered 15 did. This allowed us some exploration and novelty in our walks. My sister became interested and joined us with her dogs on the journeys as well. Two appreciations arose from this experience for my mom and me. One was the impressiveness of Lee’s

Summit Parks and Recreation as each park offered something unique in either facilities or environment. We discovered parks in Lee’s Summit we had not seen. Some parks are constantly changing as we return to them. Lowenstein is one of them. Howard and Summit Parks were renovated. We found new parks that became favorites because of wooded trails providing relief from summertime heat such as Banner Park. At each park, my mother commented on how well maintained the parks are and how benches were well located allowing a few minutes of rest. Two, I found myself even more appreciative of the Livable Streets initiatives in Lee’s Summit. Sidewalks throughout the city are important for our physical and mental health.

Our streets are adaptable to all modes of transportation so adults and youth can get out of the confines of the house. More residents are walking, riding bikes, and jogging through the pandemic. As the elderly are much more isolated due to COVID, they need a city that focuses on walk ability which allows them to participate in daily walks to maintain balance, strength and mental health. Our adventure provided daily walks, new challenges, and exploration of new places in a familiar environment. Since we have completed our challenge, we have set a new goal – the trails that run throughout our city. We did have to buy some new walking shoes.

If you are interested in exploring the parks of Lee’s Summit, visit for park details and amenities.

This article was submitted by Jan Nelson, who is a member of the Livable Streets Advisory Board.  The Livable Streets Advisory Board is a Mayor-appointed, volunteer board whose goals include working to make our community and our streets more "livable", safe and accessible for all of our citizens.