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Park Walk-Through

posted Jul 24, 2008, 7:22 PM by Brian Johnson   [ updated Aug 24, 2008, 3:39 PM ]
On Thursday, July 24, I met with members of the Kansas City Parks & Recreation (KCPR) team to review and discuss the options for Highland View Park.  Prior to this meeting, I compiled your feedback and shared the information with Mike Herron of KCPR.  I was also joined by a couple of long-time neighborhood residents, who were able to provide a broad range of history as it pertains to the park.
 
During this meeting, we reviewed the established park boundaries, discussed possible options for upgrading the park, and addressed the possibility of moving forward in phases.  Mr. Herron was able to provide more specifics related to the available funding, as well as to give an estimated cost (very rough estimates) for such improvements as a new play area and a paved walking trail. 
 
Meeting Highlights 
  • Highland View Park, in its current state, was originally funded through a developer's allotment.  This simply means the funds were supplied by the private developer(s) who built the Highland View neighborhood.
  • We learned that there was originally a larger plan for the park.  This "master plan" would be around 15 years old, and should be on file with the city.  Mr. Herron will attempt to locate this document.  When / if located, we may be able to use the plan as a starting point for the next phases of this project.
  • The city accepts funding from private sources through a program referred to as "park dedication in lieu of funds".  These funds can accumulate over time, and are held in trust until they are used.  Through this program, Mr. Herron has verified that we have approximately $120,000.00 available for the completion of this project.
  • If the process of building a single new playground consists of planning, bidding and construction, the average cost is between $125,000.00 and $150,000.00.  However, this cost can be reduced (quite substantially) if multiple park projects are bundled together and addressed as part of a "Playground Package".  Mr. Herron outlined how this would work, and estimated that by making the Highland View Park project part of the city's next Playground Package, we could likely see the cost of this project come in at less than $100,000.00.  (Keep in mind that this is only for the playground portion of this project.)
  • A new playground would be likely be built in the same area as the existing playground, and would be built to accommodate the 4 - 12 age range.  The equipment would meet current safety standards (including a rubberized safety surface), and would have variations of the most common features found in today's parks (slides, climbing, balancing, etc).  All new parks are ADA accessible, which means that a sidewalk with a wheelchair accessible ramp would be installed.
    • Comparison Parks:
      • N. Congress Park (N. Congress near 72nd)
      • Essex Park (East of N. Indiana and Barry Rd.)
  • A paved walking path would likely need to run from east to west along 85th Terrace.  Such a trail would be 6 - 8 foot wide, made of concrete, and would wander down amongst the trees, where possible.  Though no specific numbers were given, a very rough guess as to the cost of building such a walking trail could be as much as:  $300,000.00 - $500,000.00.
  • Because of the substantial cost of the walking path, Mr. Herron recommended that we submit an additional PIAC request specifically for the design and construction of such an improvement.  (I will submit this request.)  This will allow us to focus on the available funding for a new playground.  This also means that a walking path would need to be part of a later phase.
Next Steps
  • Mike will attempt to locate any existing "master plan" documents for Highland View Park.
  • Mike will verify exact amount of funds available, and work to make this project part of the next Playground Package.
  • Meet again with KCPR representatives to address any questions or issues that may arise. 
  • Public / community meeting.  (If you have access to a nearby meeting place, please let me know.)
In short, we were informed that it is not a matter of "if" we will be able to secure funding for improvements to Higland View Park, it is a matter of "when".  In the best case scenario, we will have a new playground by this time next year.
 
For those of you most interested in the walking path portion of this project, do not be discouraged.  While it certainly looks as if this improvement will need to occur at a later time, it is not being written off or forgotten.  I will continue to push for the funds, and will continue to ask for your involvement in the process.  If we, as a community, are willing to work with the city, they will most certainly work with us.
 
I will continue to provide updates via this website and through occasional email messages.  (Let me know if you would like to be on the mailing list.)
 
As we've collected feedback on this project from Highland View residents, we've heard a few concerns regarding illegal and / or unwanted activities that go on in our park.  While it may not be possible for us to curtail this sort of behavior entirely, we do have the option of calling 9-1-1.  We are the eyes and ears of our community, and through our active involvement, Highland View Park will remain a safe and beautiful place to visit!
 
If you would like more information regarding the rules and regualtions of the parks of Kansas City, MO, download the KCPR Green Book from the KCPR website.
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