Established in 1980 as a pocket park in Kansas City’s “Downtown Loop”, Oppenstein Park has long been an under-utilized public space. Submitted as an entry to a design competition sponsored by KC Art in the Loop, this winning design proposal closely integrates public art and landscape as a means of re-energizing Oppenstein Park in Downtown Kansas City.
The design concept is based upon the major migratory route known as the Mississippi Flyway, in which Kansas City is located. Oriented by the stars, migratory birds depend upon Missouri’s rich floodplains for their survival.
The central element of the installation is the Star Disc, which depicts the constellations visible if visitors were to look upwards at the night sky. Guiding visitors into the park and towards the star disk is a graceful spiral of flyways that mimic the migratory route and stainless steel bird silhouettes. These flyways route rainwater into three rain gardens. Together, these elements transform the existing Oppenstein Park into a place of respite in the heart of downtown, creating an urban park for visitors to relax and enjoy.