How does Westwood’s purchase of the former Westwood Christian Church fit into the city’s plans for the park next door? That is the question the city will try to answer in the coming weeks. While “everything is on the table” Mayor John Yé says “at the end of the day it is important to have the public sign off for whatever (we decide). We want bona fide input.”
The two-acre Westwood church property is unique because it is adjacent not only to the park on the north , but also to Westwood View Elementary School on its west. The eight acres of Entercom tower property also lie just across the street from the school. The park itself is between one and two acres.
The city council last week approved a contract with Indigo Design to work on a parks master plan for Joe D. Dennis Park on Rainbow Blvd. That contract includes an item to “…explore potential changes to the status of two adjacent properties – church property to the immediate south and Westwood View Elementary School to the west – that may play a key role in planning the future of this park property.”
Also undergoing strategic planning initiatives right now are the Johnson County Library and the Johnson County Parks and Recreation Department. The school district just completed a plan. Yé wants all of them to know what Westwood is doing. The property along Rainbow is a “key linkage” and an investment to be part of “a walkable urban setting.”
We “know there need to be improvements to the park,” says Westwood Clerk Fred Sherman. Ideally, he says, the park consultants would have some early design possibilities ready for public display at the city’s Octoberfest, held at the park, which would give Westwood residents a starting point for engagement.