Volker Neighborhood Council
As an urban university located, the University of Missouri – Kansas City’s campus is surrounded by neighborhoods and owns several residential properties in the neighborhood that abuts its Volker campus – Rockhill Crest.
Neighborhood residents surrounding the UMKC Volker campus have always expressed interest in the future expansion of the campus and wish to retain the current single family housing character of the neighborhood, as well as the maintenance of homes in the Rockhill Crest neighborhood.
Rockhill Crest is maintained as a healthy vibrant residential community. Neighborhoods are fully engaged with and supported by UMKC as well as working to support UMKC in a successful ongoing partnership.
Executive Order (PDF)
Sign Guidelines (PDF)
VNC Goals (PDF)
2010 VNC Progress Report (PDF)
- Serve as a contact/resource for defined area and work with Rockhill Crest Neighborhood Association leadership regarding concerns and issues
- Serve as a contact/resource for student renters regarding concerns and issues
- Work closely with UMKC contact person to resolve student renter issues
- Attend Rockhill Crest Neighborhood Association meetings as needed
- Distribute pertinent information about UMKC to neighborhood residents
- Answer questions/concerns from UMKC renters (Monday-Friday, 5:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.)
- Monitor exterior upkeep of university-controlled rental property
- Assist with development and implementation of Neighborhood 101 forum
- Attend all university/neighborhood events and assist in their planning
Membership includes representation from surrounding neighborhoods, the City of Kansas City, Missouri and UMKC.
Member list (PDF)
In accordance with the Volker Neighborhood Charter and Mission statement, the Strategic Plan contains short-, medium- and long-term action items.
Strategic Plan (PDF)
In 1998, unsettled by hearing news of the university’s plans for expansion through the acquisition of more residential properties, residents became increasingly disgruntled with the university and began to display yard signs that read, “UMKC Kills Homes”.
In an effort to be more inclusive of neighborhood, community and surrounding institution concerns, the University revisited its Master Plan and planning process and formed the Touchstone group. The group, comprised of community, neighborhood, business and civic leaders marked a new way of the university interacting with its surrounding community regarding campus development issues. The university also held ongoing meetings with neighbors during the process.
At the conclusion of its Master Plan process in 2002, and after official adoption of the Master Plan, the university’s chancellor signed an executive order to address neighborhood concerns regarding campus development. This document supports the vision of the neighborhood residents, the university and the city in maintaining a vibrant and engaged community surrounding the UMKC campus. In addition, Rockhill Crest residents issued a Position Statement between Rockhill Crest Neighborhood Association and the 49/63 Neighborhood Coalition in which the neighborhoods, “express their appreciation and support for the comprehensive manner in which the University of Missouri-Kansas City has developed its most recent land use and campus development planning document.”
As a result of these two documents, the Volker Neighborhood Council and Neighborhood Cabinet were created. The council was developed to foster understanding of respective neighborhood and university issues in order to arrive at mutually beneficial solutions.
Since 2002, UMKC has met bimonthly with neighborhood representatives from Rockhill Crest and surrounding neighborhoods. These meetings are held to share campus updates and to review issues and concerns from representatives of the Volker Neighborhood Council/Neighborhood Cabinet.
Each council is composed of representatives from neighborhoods surrounding the Volker and Hospital Hill campuses, and representatives are selected by their respective neighborhood president. Agenda items typically include any university related issues directly impacting the neighborhoods surrounding the Volker or Hospital Hill neighborhoods as well as University updates. The structure of the council has no identifying chair or leader, therefore giving the council almost an open forum meeting format.
As a result of the Executive Order a Neighborhood 101class/program was developed by the university to educate students on the responsibilities involved with living in a neighborhood versus traditional student housing. Issues such as safety and security, parking, trash collection are addressed. Neighborhood representatives from Rockhill Crest are present at the Neighborhood 101 classes to provide guidance and support.
Since the inception of Neighborhood 101 the Office of Student Involvement (formerly Student Life office) is more engaged with familiarizing students with neighborhood activities associated with being a good neighbor and requires new students living in university-owners properties to attend the class. As 2005 approached, a subcommittee of the council was formulated to explore possible partnership opportunities with the university.
Partnership projects included streetscape and partnering with other neighborhood agencies on security and crime. In October 2005 as a result of the sub-committee’s work the Council adopted a Mission Statement and Charter.
In spring 2007, UMKC looked at the benefits of hiring a professional property manager rather than continuing to manage the properties internally. The benefits to this business model included optimum response to tenants’ needs, proven residential management and maintenance experience, and the resources to determine fair market rental rates.
During these discussions residents of the neighborhood continue to express concerns regarding:
- Continued purchase of properties in the Rockhill Crest neighborhood
- UMKC not investing enough funds into the properties to maintain them in good condition consistent with the rest of the neighborhood and KCMO property codes
- The level of transparency in sharing of UMKC property management budgets and expenditures
- UMKC’s efforts to move rents to market rate would potentially force out long-term residents
- UMKC will not locate fraternities and sororities in the Rockhill Crest neighborhood, therefore encouragement of UMKC to establish a “Greek Row” outside of the neighborhood to protect the neighborhood character
- UMKC has not provided sufficient access of the Volker Neighborhood Council to the Chancellor and the UMKC Trustees Real Estate Committee.
Although there has been an improved relationship with the neighborhood residents, the university continues to struggle with the current structure of the council and its role as it relates to engagement with the university on neighborhood and other issues of common interest to the university and neighbors.
During the fall of 2008, an outside facilitator was contracted to work closely with the council and assist with setting: meeting parameters, council restructuring and council governance, and strategic planning.
The Office of Community and Public Affairs is hopes that a “re-tooled” neighborhood council will allow neighbors to become more engaged partners with the university. In 2009 the VNC began with newly elected neighborhood representatives. This governance structure established has eliminates the open forum meeting format that has existed since 2002.