ENGLISH LANDING PARK ON THE “MIGHTY MO”
The Missouri River has captivated the imagination of many as far back as 1804 when explorers Lewis & Clark traveled west to unknown lands. It has been called “Mighty Mo,” “Muddy Missouri” and has a prominent place in our Midwest geological heritage. For those of us that call Parkville, MO home, it is our cherished neighbor, one that holds a special place in our hearts.
As my family was deciding where to relocate back in 2004, the Missouri River actually had a huge impact on where we wanted to live. And English Landing Park was one of the amenities in Parkville that sealed the deal.
Parkville’s English Landing Park, nestled along the banks of the Missouri River and adjacent to downtown Parkville, MO is a unique blend of nature, entertainment, fitness, and community.
I have included the park’s Facebook Page link here for your reference (https://www.facebook.com/pages/English-Landing-Park/135379163172008)
In addition, here are some of my personal memories of the river and the park:
From a young age, our girls were fascinated by the river. They could not get close enough, and on more than one occasion, they almost ended up experiencing the river currents first hand! On a weekly basis, we would go down on the boat ramp at the park to skip rocks, catch tadpoles and create artwork in the sand along the bank.
As they grew up, we hosted several birthday parties at the park shelters, which are still favorite memories. The kids could play on the playground equipment, run in the grass, and enjoy hotdogs, burgers and of course s’mores, cooked on the grills by the tables under the shelters.
We discovered the awe of Fourth of July fireworks and also learned that kids don’t necessarily like the loud sound that they make. I can still see the image of my husband squeezing my oldest daughter’s head, hands over her ears, as she screamed during the show! Of course, we didn’t leave. HA!
Summer also brought the carnival to English Landing Park during Parkville Days. Each year, we would hang out with hundreds of families and try to be firm as to a realistic number of tickets two kids could possibly use to ride rides and play games, while seeking out friends who were doing the same thing with their kids!
In the winter, we found ourselves back in the Park for Christmas on the River, an annual event that features Santa and Mrs. Claus, the mayor of Parkville, and school choirs that all assemble in English Landing Park to kick off the official start to the holiday season in downtown Parkville. And of course, fireworks!! These shows are truly some of the best fireworks around. One year, it was so cold, I remember we watched the show in our car which was parked in the Post Office parking lot with our seats folded all the way down, looking through the sunroof window…warm, fun and quiet!
As our girls grew up, their interaction with the park changed and still remained relevant and significant in their lives and activities. Several end of the year school parties took place at the park throughout both girls’ school years. They volunteered to fill sand bags during one of the flooding threats to downtown Parkville, and they participated in the various holiday parades with their sports teams at PHS.
My oldest daughter joined the cross country team as a freshman in high school at Park Hill South. She would run at the park every morning in the summers during pre-season conditioning, participated in time trials at the park at the beginning of each season and then participated each year in the Turkey Trot, the annual 5K race held at the park held each year on Thanksgiving morning. She and my husband continued to run in the race for several years; my husband still faithfully runs to this day.
Our youngest daughter still remembers the day when the sand volleyball courts opened at the park! We watched, with anticipation their construction as we traveled to and from school each day. She and my husband still enjoy playing volleyball there and have brought several pounds of sand in our home after many outings! And on more than one occasion, she would be at the park during the day and then return at night to attend one of the many music concerts held there on weekend nights.
For me, English Landing Park represents a place where I can connect with nature, marvel at the beauty of the river, set goals for my life, wrestle quietly with the challenges I am facing at the time, connect with friends along the jogging trails and return home with a sense of renewal, peace and motivation to tackle life.
It isn’t often that “proximity to a river” is criteria that a buyer communicates as a Must Have, but for me, it was! And for the rest of the lucky home owners that live here, it is one of the truly magical amenities that make life in Parkville, MO so special! Come be Mighty MO’s neighbor and mine!!