Nov 5, 2011

Occupy KC plans to move into a downtown park

In a surprise move during the encampment's General Assembly Friday evening, consensus passed to divide the camp and move a contingent down to the small Oppenstein Park right in Kansas City's financial district.

The park is only a quarter block with limited grass and it's run--not by the city, but according to a sign by Jackson County Parks and Recreation.  The park is at 12th and Walnut, surrounded by glass and steel buildings, big banks.  Office space.   Not so far from P&L district and Sprint Center.

Elements of the Occupy Kansas City group have wanted to move away from Penn Valley Park near the Liberty Memorial Mall because it's almost like a reservation...out of the way....safe enough-- but with little visibility because traffic is limited.  Numbers of occupiers, whether actually camping, or just regularly visiting, have been disappointing compared to other larger cities.

Kansas City police have told campers that for the time being, they are not forcing the issue about sleeping in Penn Valley, or even tents which are forbidden without an expensive permit.  The Occupy encampment has not had the several thousand dollars a month for a permit.

One spokesman told the Occupiers at GA that there won't be a problem moving to the 12th & Walnut; the mayor reportedly told a representative that one unacceptable location would be Ilus Davis Park where a week ago, Occupy KC held a rally.  Davis is directly across from City Hall. But the Occupy presenter told the group this park in the financial district "would not be a problem."
This park, Oppenstein Brothers Memorial Park is right in the middle of downtown business 12th and Walnut....much like other cities like Occupy Wall street in New York.

In fact, right next to the park is Kansas City's Wall Street building at 11th and Walnut,  M&I bank... Bank of America's only a block away and other financial houses are nearby.  What it lacks that Penn Valley has is parking and relative safety....Relationship with Kansas City police has been good at Liberty Memorial...there's no report how Jackson County will take an occupy encampment downtown.



Homeless issue common at Occupy sites.

The financial district park is also an area where pedestrians can be found walking around late at night and, like this man, sleeping in the park.  Occupy planners have voiced some concerned over how to work with homeless who might be likely there.  There was agreement among the group's town planners that drugs and alcohol won't be tolerated, which has been the policy, though not actively enough enforced, if one believes a single media report.

In a logistics meeting after the GA decision, 'town planning work group" members expressed concern about the homeless who may join the group, or help them find other services. More on this, mostly audio is available of this meeting. 

TWO camps...for now


For the time being, occupiers are not calling this a "move", but a "satellite expansion."

The point of the group is to protest banks and corporate influence on government... so many occupy sites around the country are also centrally located in downtown parks.  The decision to move was just made Friday night so some logistics are being planned for a contingent of Penn Valley campers to move downtown.

Part of the strategy is to make the move before hard winter occurs; there are designs on moving the entire encampment at some point to this downtown location, away from the windy open field of Penn Valley.

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kctv5 coverage
Saturday, a demonstration was held outside the Westport Branch of Bank of America...(Broadway at Westport Rd),  a move to urge customers to close their accounts with the bank and move them to home grown Credit Unions.  This nationwide action is occurring right after Bank of America has withdrawn plans to charge its debit card customers $5 a month for use of the cards.  KCTV5's coverage here....

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