News

 
As progress is made on the Highland View Park Upgrade Project, and new information comes to light, I will use this page to keep you informed.  If you have specific questions, or would like more information than you find here, please let me know.
 

Update: Bids + Construction

posted Sep 14, 2009, 4:35 AM by Brian Johnson

On Friday, September 11, I received the following information from the KCPR Project Manager for the Highland View Park project:
  • Pre-bid for the project package that includes Highland View Park was September 3, 2009.
  • Bids for the project will be opened on Wednesday, September 16 at 2:00pm.
  • Notice to proceed should be given by the second week in October.
  • This is a 90 calendar day project.
In other words, all submitted bids will be reviewed on Wednesday, September 16.  The chosen vendor will be informed of their selection by the second week in October, and they will have 90 calendar days to complete the work.

I've been assured that construction will begin in October!

If you would like to review the project plan as made available, visit the 2009 Play Area Plan page on the KCMO.org website.

Update: July 28, 2009

posted Jul 28, 2009, 7:47 AM by Brian Johnson   [ updated Jul 28, 2009, 8:46 AM ]



While I was hoping for an aggressive schedule that would possibly see construction begin in the July - August time frame, I'm still pleased with the following update from KC Parks & Recreation.  In addition, I'm still confident that we will see a completed project by the end of the year!

The bid documents are in final draft and the spec book is 80% complete. We are hoping to advertise soon. This project package has 3 priority projects in it which need to be completed soon, among many others.

Keep in mind that this project first came to light at the July 10, 2008 PIAC meeting for our council district.  From there, it wasn't until September 23, 2008 that we first assembled to discuss the project as a community.  Now, just ten months removed from that meeting, we are talking about advertising the project for bids, and not only beginning, but completing, construction by the end of the year!  Simply put, we are making amazing progress in a very short amount of time!

Volunteers Needed

The other portion of the Highland View Park project is the construction (or formalization) of hiking / nature trails through the wooded areas of the park.  I know there are some residents who are very interested in this, and I would like to solicit volunteers to help make this happen.  We have been offered assistance from the KCPR engineering staff to kick off such a project, and I think it would be a great idea if we could take advantage of it:

Regarding the secondary trail through the park. [KCPR] was able to flag the trail last winter/spring and would be able to meet with a group of volunteers if they want to work on building the secondary trail.
 
 >>  If you would be interested in working on the hiking / nature trails, please let me know.  Please indicate the level of participation you would be willing/able to offer.  (I'd like to give someone the opportunity to take on some of the organizational and administrative aspects of this effort.)

As always, thank you for your continued support and participation in this project.  Without you, this project would not be possible!

Quick Update

posted May 9, 2009, 2:11 PM by Brian Johnson

While it's been a bit quiet around the Highland View Park project lately, I thought a quick update was in order...

I received word from the KC Parks & Recreation team on Friday that the project is currently in the design and drafting phase.  We're hoping that all design and drafting is completed in the next few weeks, which would allow us to put the project out for bid sometime in June. 

You also might be interested to know the four parks that will be part of this bid package:
  • Highland View Park
  • Budd Park
  • Iser Park
  • Tiffany Springs Park

PIAC Request #107381 APPROVED

posted Mar 18, 2009, 2:13 PM by Brian Johnson

I wanted to provide a quick update to let everyone know that we've received word that PIAC request #107318 has been approved in the amount of $80,000!    This particular request was aimed at securing additional funds for the design and construction of a new playground at Highland View Park. 

I should point out that these funds are in addition to the $146,000 that was previously committed to the HVP effort via "park dedication in-lieu-of funds".  In total, we have just over $226,000 available for the various aspects of this project.  We will tap the funds from the PIAC request first, as it is to be dedicated to the playground portion of the project.  Once these funds have been exhausted, we will then tap the remaining $146,000.  Any money that remains will be used to fund the design and construction of paved (hard surface) walking trails along the south side of 85th Terrace.

PIAC request #107450 was not recommended for funding during the 2009 - 2010 fiscal year.  This request was directed at obtaining funding for the design and construction of  hard surface walking trails along the south side of 85th Terrace and the west side of Virginia, south of 85th Terrace.  Depending on our needs, we could conceivably resubmit the request for the 2010 - 2011 fiscal year.

We are still expecting the project to be put out for bid sometime in April.  From that point, the project will go through a series of administrative steps before being placed on the schedule for completion.  Though I can't say for sure, I'm still hoping for a completed product by late summer (Aug/Sept).

Thanks again to everyone for your help in getting this far.  We couldn't have done it without you!

Board Review... Approved!

posted Jan 28, 2009, 7:17 AM by Brian Johnson   [ updated Jan 28, 2009, 4:07 PM ]

On Tuesday, January 27, 2009, the Kansas City Board of Parks Commissioners voted unanimously to approve proposed changes to the Highland View Park master plan. 

The only question that came out of the review was in relation to the material that will be used to construct the hard surface walking trails (sidewalks) that have been proposed.  As concrete does not meet the Board's standards for pervious material, we will need to substitute another material in its place.  This is by no means a big issue, and it should in no way impact our ability to move the project forward.

The next steps in this process will take place over the coming months, and will begin with the processes involved with soliciting bids from prospective contractors.  As we will be packaging the Highland View Park project with two other park projects for the bidding process, it will likely be April before bids will be solicited and received.

Following the bid process, we can expect a period of time to pass for KC Parks & Recreation to complete various administrative tasks, including awarding of the bids and authorization for the chosen contractor to begin work.  At that point, the schedule will largely depend on the capabilities and availability of the chosen contractor to perform the work. 

At this time, my best guess on when to expect a finished product would be sometime from mid- to late-summer (July / August, perhaps).  (Once the construction of the playground [and hopefully walking trails] is complete, it might be nice to schedule a community picnic at the park to celebrate the completion of the project.  KC Parks & Recreation will likely perform a dedication ceremony at this time.  If you have any interest in helping to plan such an event, please let me know.)

The only outstanding questions at this point are in regards to funding for the hard-surface walking trails.  There is an assumption that we will have some amount of funds left over from existing funding for the playground.  We should be able to use these funds toward some of the cost of building the trails.  To make up for any shortfall, we still have an active PIAC request for these additional funds.  Feedback I've received from PIAC members has been positive, but the funds have not been allocated as of yet, and there is no guarantee.  We will address this as more information is made available.

Finally, I want to thank everyone for your participation in this project.  What started out as a simple question has quickly become a reality, and I am very excited to see the fruits of our efforts.  Without your feedback and participation, none of this would have been possible. 

Thank you!

Latest on the Board Review

posted Jan 21, 2009, 10:21 AM by Brian Johnson   [ updated Jan 21, 2009, 10:30 AM ]

I just received word that the formal Board review will take place next Tuesday, January 27, at 2:00.  It will be held at the KC Parks & Recreation department's administration building on 63rd Street (just east of 71 Hwy).  We will forgo the pre-Board meeting altogether. 

Pending approval of the Highland View Park project during this meeting, we anticipate being able to move forward with the process of bidding out the playground and working on the walking paths and trails.  With any luck, we could be enjoying our new playground later this year!

As always, let me know if you have any questions.

Rezoning

posted Jan 13, 2009, 1:19 PM by Brian Johnson   [ updated Mar 13, 2009, 12:30 PM ]

I realize this post is not park related, but it does pertain to our neighborhood as a whole....
 
It was recently brought to my attention that the property located NE of 88th & Highland is up for rezoning.  A local developer is planning to purchase the property and build a 240 unit apartment complex.  The main entrance to this complex would be built off of the new extension to Maple Woods Parkway, but a secondary entrance would be build near the intersection of 88th & Highland.
 
Additional information can be found in the PDF document below.  Please let me know if you have any questions, or you can contact Rick Cook directly (his contact information is in the PDF document - page 2, I believe).

UPDATE - March 13, 2009

Per Rick Cook:

I confirmed with the city that the hearing with the Plan & Zone Committee is still on for this next Tuesday, 17 March at 11am in the City Council Chamber. I have attached another “news letter” for an update on what I plan to say, plus I have attached a “staff report”. It is from the city. Unfortunately, it makes it sound as if the approval to rezone the property is a done deal. And it might very well be. Lee Shoemaker and I plan to attend the hearing and at least take the opportunity to speak our minds. Who knows…..
 

As more information is made available, I will do my best to keep this page updated.  Please let me know if you have any new information on this proposed development, or if you have any questions you would like answered. 

Board Review

posted Jan 13, 2009, 1:17 PM by Brian Johnson

The previously scheduled January 13 pre-Board review has been postponed until 1/24.  Because of this new schedule, the formal Board review will occur sometime in February.  The likely dates are February 10 or 24. 
 
Please check back for further updates.

Development Committee Review

posted Dec 5, 2008, 5:54 AM by Brian Johnson   [ updated Dec 12, 2008, 6:05 AM ]

**  Updated December 12, 2009

Recap

On Thursday, December 4, I had the opportunity to meet with the KC Parks & Rec Development Committee regarding the Highland View Park project.  This was simply an opportunity for Mike Herron to present the work we've done to date to his peers before looking to get final approval from the Board of Parks Commissioners.

All-in-all, the meeting was very positive.  Mike provided a bit of background on the project, and Scott Overbay presented the updated Master Plan documents (as discussed and agreed upon during our November 6 community meeting).  The committee members asked various questions regarding the plans, and worked to familiarize themselves with the overall project.

Mike also discussed the funding opportunities, the tremendous amount of participation from neighborhood residents, and the quickness with which this project is progressing.  In the end, the Development Committee seems to fully support the direction of this project, and has asked that we present to the Board of Parks Commissioners for final review.  This will occur in two parts:
  • January 13, 2009 - Pre-Board Session
  • January 27, 2009 - Formal Board Session (for formal approval)

    **  Added December 12, 2009

Impact of Economy on Project Funding

Also of note, Mike mentioned that due to the economic conditions we are all facing, the anticipated bond issue from the City Council has been put on hold for as long as 18 months.  What this means is that the playground package he had been hoping to put out for bid in early 2009 is also on hold.  While this doesn't impact the availability of funds for our project, it has a potential impact on what we will pay for the construction of a new play area. 

That said, Mike is planning to bundle our project with work being done at Bud Park so that a smaller package can be put out for bid.  He is hopeful that the result of this bid process will provide us with favorable costs without delaying progress. 

In the end, we are still hoping for a spring or early summer 2009 time frame for construction of the new playground.  The capital funding (PIAC) request for the paved walking trails is still outstanding, and planning on this phase of the project will not move forward until funding is available.

Walking Trail Update

After our last meeting, Scott Overbay visited the park to map out any existing natural trail structures.  Though I haven't walked the area myself, Scott said that he marked the trails with orange spray paint.  So, if you're looking for something to do outdoors this weekend, you might  head down to the park area to do a little exploring!

11/6 Community Meeting Notes

posted Nov 10, 2008, 10:44 AM by Brian Johnson   [ updated Nov 15, 2008, 10:13 AM ]

Update to 11/6 Community Meeting Notes

The bulk of the time during our 11/6 meeting was spent discussing the master plan for Highland View Park, and our desires for updating this plan.  We covered the items that were identified during our 9/23 meeting as the "top priorities" -  Playground Improvements and a Hard Surface Walking Trail.  We also discussed the possibility of formalizing a trail structure through the wooded areas of the park before moving on to the topic of what our next steps should be.

On the topics of playground improvements and the walking trail, Scott Overbay of KC Parks & Rec provided an overview of the park site.  He provided drawings that showed proposed routes for the walking trail, and a new location for the playground. 

The walking trail was proposed to extend along 85th Terrace from Boone to Virginia, continuing east along the park perimiter, and south along Virginia from 85th Terrace to the south edge of the park.  Through discussions, the group decided that, should funding be an issue, the highest priority related to the walking trail would be for the initial run from Boone to Virginia.  Pending available funds, the trail should cotinue east of Virginia along 85th Terrace.  Should additional funds be available, the final priority related to the walking trail would be to add the extension along Virginia south of 85th Terrace.

Should we have funding for the entire length of trail, we can expect roughly 2700 linear feet of paved trail.  This includes a width of eight feet.  The trail will be constructed of poured concrete for durability, longevity and reduced maintenance (when compared with asphalt).The estimated cost of this portion of the project is $180,000.00.

 
The highest rated priority, as voted on by those in attendance, was the proposal of improvements to the playground.  For this piece of the project, Mr. Overbay proposed three options for play structures:  Traditional, Innovative and Boulders.  Based on input from the group, it was decided that the Innovative style was the preferred option.  One main reason for this is the fact that the Traditional style is likely to be more inviting to loitering and undesirable after-hours behavior.  The play equipment will be geared toward children in the 5 - 12 age range.

The surface area of the proposed play area is estimated to come in between 2000 and 2500 square feet, and will be moved a short distance to the east to accommodate.  (The new location is the clearing near the speed bump to the east - just west of Troost.)  There will be a rubberized safety surface in place, along with the addition of two benches and an appropriately sized trash receptacle for the playground.  The play area will also include a sidewalk for accessibility.

If bid alone, the cost of the playground could approach $140,000.00.  However, it has been decided that we will include this project (for the playground only) in a playground package for 2009.  It is anticipated that this approach will enable us to construct the playground for around $90,000.00.  This is a large savings that will enable us to achieve more with the funds already available to us ($146,000.00 in in-lieu funds).

In addition to the construction of the new play area, it was decided that  the existing play equipment will be left in place.  This will provide additional options for neighborhood residents to enjoy the park.

In terms of the nature trail that has been discussed, Mike Herron of KC Parks & Rec noted that his department could lend a hand in helping make this a reality.  While we would need to do most of the work on our own, they could provide assistance with mapping out the trail routes, providing wood chips for the walking surface, etc.  In line with this, Mr. Overbay is planning to make a site visit with the primary intention of mapping out any existing trails.  He will then amend the park master plan to include the nature trails.

As the group discussed next steps, Mr. Herron noted that he would schedule a Peer Review with his peers at KC Parks & Rec to further analyze this project.  The outcome of this review would be to determine if the project needs to be approved by the Board of Parks & Rec Commissioners, or if it could go ahead as proposed.  For this meeting, Mr. Herron requested that someone from our group attend.  As agreed by those in attendance, I will be representing the Highland View Park project in this meeting.

Finally, Mr. Herron stated that it would be a good idea if we were to follow-up with our PIAC (Public Improvements Advisory Council) representatives and/or our City Council representative in regards to the outstanding requests for additional funding.  The purpose of this would be to show continued interest and support for the project, and to demonstrate the progress that has been made to date.  I will follow-up with Mr. Herron on the appropriate contact information for these individuals and will make it available to you as soon as I can.

As always, please let me know if I've missed anything, or if my rendition of the meeting is not clear.  If you you have anything to add, please send those comments my way as well.

- Brian

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