- Associated Press - Sunday, October 23, 2016

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Kansas City man has big plans to build an inner-city golf course with greens that look just like those in affluent suburbs.

Chris Harris grew up and still lives in a house next to the land where he is creating a nine-hole putting course in the city’s Ivanhoe neighborhood, which with its abandoned houses, blight and boarded-up windows has seen better days.

If the project works, the golf course could complement the park he built across the street, Harris told The Kansas City Star (https://bit.ly/2e7oqVS).

“The golf course is just a small piece. It’s sending a message,” Harris said as he spread 20 tons of sand on a vacant lot. “Look at the PGA. Great game. And the reason there are not many minorities there is because they don’t have access.”

The housing specialist at Truman Medical Center has spent the past three months working part time with the grounds crew at Mission Hills Golf Course in the tony suburb of Mission Hills, Kansas. He expects the project to cost at least $10,000 to start, which he is paying out of his own pocket. He’s also doing the work almost entirely on his own, though a local electrical supply company donated some lighting equipment.

Harris has made neighborhood beautification and improvement his life’s work, starting nearly 20 years ago when he built Harris Park across the street.

The Harrises were the first black family to move into the block, and his father, a millwright, bought property up and down the avenue.

He cleared out abandoned houses and trash dumps to build the park, which has a playground and basketball court and is rented out for events. He noted, with pride, that not a single scrape of litter or graffiti may be found there.

“I think people respect what I’m trying to do,” Harris said.

When the course is finished in the spring, Harris pictures youths of all ages coming to take basic golf lessons or play a round for fun. Harris said he hopes to make a deal with a sponsor for naming rights.


Information from: The Kansas City Star, https://www.kcstar.com

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