The City of Kansas City and Kansas City Public Schools celebrated their combined investment of $1.2 million for upgrades to the Central Park athletic facilities during an event starting Tuesday morning, April 26 at the school.

At the celebration, City leaders ceremonially gave students a check representing a $400,000 investment of 3rd District Public Improvement Advisory Committee (PIAC) funds into the park’s athletic facilities. Central Academy of Excellence students then presented a ceremonial “thank you” card to the City’s representatives.

KCPS is adding about $800,000 of its own money into the joint project, which began to take shape in the fall of 2015 after both City and KCPS officials recognized that there was an opportunity to use PIAC funds to improve the park. More than 300 Central Academy students signed a petition that helped the project earn a recommendation from the 3rd District PIAC and approval from the City Council. This is one of the largest investments in a single project that has ever been approved by a district-level PIAC in Kansas City, Mo.

Central Academy students use the park athletic facilities thanks to a partnership between KCPS and the City’s Department of Parks and Recreation. The PIAC and KCPS funds will be used to install a new track and convert the existing field into a regulation-size football and soccer field with high-quality turf. It is anticipated that the Central Park athletic facility project will start around Jan. 1, 2017 and be completed by that summer.