Roeland Park’s planned improvements to R Park have received the maximum amount of grant money from the Sunflower Foundation. The grant will fund approximately half of the trail construction, signage and new trees.
The city received $18,391 for the R Park improvements. Of that total, $12,650 will go towards trail construction, just over $3,000 will be used for signs and more than $2,700 will be used to plant trees along the trail.
A citizens committee has been raising funds for the trail construction and now has collected nearly $12,000. Gretchen Davis, one of the committee organizers, said the group needs to raise closer to $16,000 to cover half of the trail construction and some non-construction related costs. The money will pay for the construction of a half-mile of new trail which will tie into existing sidewalks to provide a three-quarter mile loop through the park.
The group hopes to meet its remaining goals with a final fundraising event on October 11 at the Roeland Park Community Center. Half of the tickets for the Bacon, Blues and Brews event have already been sold. If the event sells out, Davis said, the group will meet its goal to complete the trail. Tickets are only sold in advance; they will not be available at the door.
The city will fund the remaining sign and tree costs. Many of the trees in R Park are ash trees which will be removed in the near future. The emerald ash borer has already been discovered on a trap in the park.
The grant money awarded to Roeland Park was part of more than $240,000 the Sunflower Foundation awarded this year to develop community trails. The program has helped more than 125 trail projects around the state. This year the funding was divided among eight grant applicants: seven communities and one school district.