Indians say apartments threaten archaeological site

Thursday, September 20, 2001

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A proposed apartment complex in northwest Kansas City is too close to a park where early Americans lived 4,000 years ago, members of an American Indian group said.

"Indian people have been pushed aside too long. We've got this property we're trying to fight for," Bob Blue, representing the National Center for Indigenous American Cultures at Line Creek, said Tuesday at a meeting of the Kansas City Plan Commission.

"There are things in the ground that need to be taken care of," said Blue, who is Choctaw.

The commission on Tuesday denied a rezoning request for the development. However, commission members said their concerns stemmed more from the project's density than the site's historical importance.

At issue is a 35-acre property, used in the past for horse riding, north of the Missouri River in northwest Kansas City. The owner, Diane McGuire, was proposing a three-phase plan involving 256 units in 27 buildings.

Michael Flowers, project manager, said the plan might be revised to a somewhat lower density and resubmitted.

"It's far from over," Flowers said

Officials said that the site is northeast of Vaydik Park at Line Creek, which has been identified as an archaeological preserve. Historians believe a native culture lived there about 4,000 years ago.

Some residents of nearby single-family subdivisions also spoke out Tuesday against the plan, saying they feared increased water runoff, traffic congestion and decreased property values.

Charles Myers, the Plan Commission's chairman, said McGuire has a right to develop the land and that if the Indian group wanted the entire area preserved, it must be prepared to buy the plot from her.

Sandra Aust, president of the group, said its members hoped to acquire some of the private property in the Line Creek valley and to eventually preserve the area as an archaeological and educational site.

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