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Major Gift Announced To Fund Expansive, New Outdoor Festival Area

November 10, 2016

Major Gift From Michael and Marlys Haverty Family Foundation Announced To Fund Expansive, New Outdoor Festival Area In Footprints Of Historic Rail Yards


KANSAS CITY, MO (Nov. 10, 2016) This morning, Union Station officials announced a $1 million gift from the Michael and Marlys Haverty Family Foundation.  This generous gift will be applied to the current Western Expansion capital improvement project . . . specifically funding a new outdoor festival plaza located just to the northwest corner of the historic Station.

This significant new outdoor area -- to be named “Haverty Family Yards” -- will include a beautiful new full-acre festival space designed for community events, concerts, festivals and a full variety of activities both large and small.

Haverty Family Yards will sit in the footprint of the rail yards that served Union Station where 18 separate tracks once accommodated passenger trains arriving and departing. Alongside Haverty Family Yards, trains will still be greeted as they come and go from the Station.  And Kansas Citians will soon connect, create, discover and celebrate on this historic site.  While completion of the new area is only weeks away, it will be fully activated with programs and events in the spring of 2017.

From the new Haverty Family Yards -- in one sweeping view – guests will see the historic Union Station building, the modern Science City, the downtown skyline and the active Kansas City Terminal tracks where countless daily freight trains of the five major railroads serving Kansas City and Amtrak operate from one part of our country to another. Union Station is a tremendous regional success story and Kansas City’s icon. This new outdoor area will add to and enhance what is already a community treasure.

Additionally, the Haverty gift will create a new Railroad Gallery inside Union Station to feature 12 stunning paintings by Richard Allison depicting the historical trains of the original 12 railroads that founded Union Station Kansas City in 1914. 

“Mike’s and Marlys’ love for the Station has never faded – from Mike’s first impression dating back to the early 1950’s thru today,” Bob Regnier, Union Station Board Chairman, said. “In fact, it was Mike’s passion as Board Chairman that helped inspire the Board, Management, and Business and Civic leaders, during its most challenging years, to find the right balance of revenue and programming to guarantee a solid future for this iconic monument.  The opportunity for future generations to learn from educational programming and to enjoy the majesty of this architectural masterpiece is something Mike and Marlys and their family want to see.  This latest and very generous gift to our Western Expansion is the manifestation of their commitment to make Union Station a centerpiece in a better Kansas City.” 

Haverty Family Yards will also be available to extend the new Science City outdoor area featuring “Simple Machines”, a result of the third “Battle of the Brains” competition sponsored by Burns & McDonnell.  During special events, these two new areas – each $1 million investments -- will accommodate impressive and growing experiences like Maker Faire and other Science City signature events.

“Our Western Expansion Project has already delivered tremendous conveniences and value to our guests,” George Guastello, president and CEO of Union Station, said.  “The new south festival plaza gardens and transformed parking areas are both beautiful and highly functional.  Our new Carriage Pavilion vehicular and pedestrian bridge was immediately praised for connecting our historic Station front to our West Yards covered garage.  Now, the new Haverty Family Yards will anchor the significant and multiple improvements along our northwest side.  As we move work inside for the winter months, we couldn’t be more thankful to Marlys and Mike Haverty.  They epitomize the spirit of determination and selfless giving to help make Kansas City better for all of us.”

SPECIAL THANKS – In addition to the tremendous Western Expansion support from Michael and Marlys Haverty, Union Station extends sincerest appreciation for previously announced project funding from Hall Family Foundation, Missouri Development Finance Board, City of Kansas City, MO, Arvin Gottlieb Charitable Foundation, Bloch Family Foundation, Burns & McDonnell, Gary Dickinson Family Foundation, Goppert Family Foundation, Sunderland Foundation, Schutte Foundation, Rainen Family Foundation, Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, MO, Royals Charities and others.

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About Union Station Kansas City, Inc.

Union Station Kansas City -- a 501(c)3 non-profit organization -- is a 100-year-old historical landmark and celebrated civic asset renovated and reopened to the public in 1999. The organization -- dedicated to science education, celebration of community and preservation of history -- is home to Kansas City’s internationally-awarded Science Center; the popular Model Railroad Experience; the Arvin Gottlieb Planetarium; the Regnier Extreme Screen Theatre, H&R Block City Stage featuring live theater, and a selection of unique shops and restaurants. Union Station is also home to prominent area civic organizations and businesses, and regularly hosts world-class traveling exhibitions. Awarded “Top Banquet Facilities in KC” by KC Business Journal, the facility regularly hosts community events and private celebrations of all sizes. Visit WWW.UNIONSTATION.ORG for details. Also, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

ATTACHMENT:  Additional Quotes

“Marlys and I come from simple backgrounds,” Mike Haverty, former Board Chairman of Union Station Kansas City and retired Chairman, CEO and president of Kansas City Southern, said. “Our philosophy is that if you are successful, you have an obligation to help others and give back to the community, to help make it a better place.”

“We especially love the idea that our family -- including our children and grandchildren who reside in Kansas City -- is able to pay tribute to Union Station and railroad history in the very place it happened,” Marlys Haverty, said. “Using reclaimed steel rails and timbers, for example, the artistic screening around Haverty Family Yards will recognize the countless trains that passed across this hallowed ground. For the Haverty family, it’s important to pass that history on to new generations who will come to enjoy this beautiful area for family fun, festivals and concerts and access the new Science City outdoor expansion. Creating new Kansas City experiences tied to Kansas City and railroad history in effect bridges multiple generations together and passes on the best of who we are as a community.”

“Shannon, Ryan and I are incredibly proud that our family has been able to support so strongly Union Station’s past, current and future success,” Michael E. Haverty (son of Mike and Marlys), said.  “My siblings and I have young families who love spending time at Union Station and Science City.  Just as our parents recollect on their experiences at the Station, we also have accumulated our own warm memories of time spent there.  The Haverty Family Yards will be yet another destination at Union Station to welcome people and shape many more experiences and memories for generations to come.”

SYNOPSIS:  Haverty Family Railroad History

The Haverty family started in the railroad business in 1865 when Irish immigrant, carpenter and laborer Thomas W. Haverty arrived in Atchison, Kansas to help build a railroad west. His sons Thomas Jr and Joseph, his grandsons Thomas III and Harold, and his great-grandson Michael all worked on the line. Michael, aka Mike or Mick, was the first to enter railroad management. When Mike left Missouri Pacific in 1970 to work for the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe, it ended 105 years of his family on the MoPac and its predecessors.  Mike went on to spend 21 years at Santa Fe, becoming president in 1989, and later 20 years at Kansas City Southern, headquartered in Kansas City.

“I’m a fourth-generation railroader,” Mike Haverty, said.  “My great-grandfather came from Ireland and settled in Atchison, and his son and grandson (my dad) were railroaders before me.  When I was a kid, I used to travel on Dad’s pass, along with my brother Joe and my grandmother Mrytle Pruslow.  We went all over the country, but our travels began and ended at Union Station.  I gained an appreciation for the epoch of this country’s settlement and for the part the railroads played in it – and, when I returned home, I understood what a great city and station we have here.”

ATTACHMENT:  Philanthropic Overview of Marlys & Michael Haverty – Recognized as “Philanthropists of the Year” by Nonprofit Connect in May of 2016

The Michael and Marlys Haverty Family Foundation makes charitable contributions to many local and regional organizations, including . . .

  • American Family Association of Kansas and Missouri
  • Benedictine College – Fund-A-Raven
  • Benedictine College – Scholarship Ball
  • Catholic Charities’ Archbishop Call to Share
  • Boy Scouts of America
  • Christo Rey High School
  • Children’s Mercy Hospital
  • De La Salle Education Center
  • George W. Bush Presidential Library
  • Happy Bottoms
  • Hispanic Scholarship Fund
  • Humane Society of the United States
  • Jewish Community Relations Bureau/American Jewish Committee
  • Jewish Community Center
  • Kansas City Irish Center
  • Kansas City Irish Fest
  • Kansas City Public Library
  • Kansas City Public Television
  • Horizon’s Academy
  • John W. Barriger National Railroad Library at the University of Missouri-St. Louis
  • Joyce DiDonato Family Scholarship Fund for Science City
  • Kansas City Rose Society
  • Kansas City Symphony Ball
  • Linda Hall Library
  • MOCSA’s Annual Luncheon and Young-at Art event (2 different contributions)
  • Little Sisters of the Poor
  • Nelson Gallery Foundation
  • Rose Brooks
  • Mount St. Scholastica (Benedictine Sisters)
  • Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity
  • St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital
  • Starlight Theater Gala
  • Symphony in the Flint Hills
  • Truman Library Institute
  • Turning Point
  • Union Station Kansas City
  • United Way of Kansas City
  • Wayside Waifs
  • Wounded Warriors

ATTACHMENT:  “Haverty Family Yards” & Surrounding Area Overview

  • Overall Size is approximately 100,000 sf or 2.3 acres
  • Amount of grass, plants, dirt, flowers:
    • Grass = 25,000 SF or 2,801 yards of sod.
    • Dirt = Over 340 cubic yards of dirt
    • Plants = 1006 plants, including both native and non-native species (and flowers)
  • Recycled rail tracks and wood used for fencing:
    • The recycled tracks were already owned by Union Station.
    • The recycled timber mimics railroad ties.
  • Originally, this outdoor area focused solely on vehicular movement and parking.  Now it will be more purpose driven and community focused. By removing a small amount of unused parking, a large green space has been gained for public events, concerts & festivals . . . allowing visitors to experience a park-like setting in an urban environment. When viewed from the Carriage Pavilion Bridge, the oval shape helps reinforce the space as a focal point and anchors the view to the downtown skyline. The new trellis and entry landscape highlight entry into Union Station and provides an outdoor area for smaller events or everyday gathering spaces for school groups and/or families. 
  • “Haverty Family Yards” is constructed over what was formerly gravel rail bed used for the trains. The design utilizes this gravel bed to help infiltrate water into the ground, thereby reducing the amount of runoff the site would have created.
  • The fence surrounding “Haverty Family Yards” was designed to carry the mid-century industrial theme of the existing site elements and railyard. Repurposed elements such as railway rail, tie plates and reclaimed lumber are all incorporated. The material and color of the fence help blend it in with Union Station surroundings, giving it nearly a disappearing effect.
  • Although some exterior lighting for the area is new, the majority of it is being relocated or repurposed. The street lights will be relocated poles from the previous parking lot and the pedestrian lights were once located in Sprint Festival Plaza’s former North Waiting Room. 

Contacts: Michael Tritt, Union Station | 816-460-2278
Nancy Chartrand Besa, Besa PR | 816-674-4775