‘Neglected’ Nall Park issues draw Roeland Park residents to talk about its future

Many parts of Nall Park are in disrepair, including drinking fountains and restrooms that do not work.
Many parts of Nall Park are in disrepair, including drinking fountains and restrooms that do not work.

“People call Nall Park the neglected park,” said Roeland Park Councilor Becky Fast Monday night, but she is hoping to change that status. Fast led a meeting of city residents who came to talk about the park at the northern end of Nall Avenue and what can be done to improve its use and condition.

One element that could influence the future of the park is the status of the Turkey Creek Trail that is on the drawing board to run just north of the park, moving across Mission into Kansas City, Kan. The future of the trail section in Mission was discussed by that city’s governing body last week. Roeland Park adopted a resolution in 2009 that expressed interest in connecting to the trail. The trail will not hit Nall Park, though, so Roeland Park would need to build a connector.

Even without the connection to a Turkey Creek Trail, residents had lots of other issues and suggestions ranging from creating an off-leash dog park to making a mountain bike trail. One resident said his concern was the playground equipment. “It’s just all run down,” he said, adding that swings were missing and the equipment needs to be safer.

The agenda included several maintenance issues for discussion: restrooms and water fountains have not worked for years; a walking path that heads east to the community center is closed due to storm drainage and erosion; grills are rusted, bent and don’t appear safe for food use; wire fencing around the park is rusted with many holes; playground equipment is rusted; trash cans are not sturdy and tip over; many trees are dead and invasive plants are prevalent; a tree limb is resting on the shelter house roof. In parks master plans, the park was listed as a high priority for residents.

Nall Park was established in 1973 and has more than 10 acres. It sits across the street from the wastewater treatment plant which is just to the west in Mission. Residents said that an odor problem coming from the plan seems to have been eliminated in recent years. Boulevard Apartments are just to the east and it is residential to the south.

Roeland Park does not have a parks department and park maintenance is handled by public works, which has been short-staffed, City Administrator Aaron Otto told the group. He said the city can get estimates for the short-term repairs and present those to the council.

Fast said that several residents offered to help organize additional meetings to look at the needs of Nall Park. She said the park is currently a “jewel in the rough.” Fast said she hopes to get the cost estimates to move forward with both short and long-range plans for the park.

The walking path that runs east towards the community center is closed because of erosion.
The walking path that runs east towards the community center is closed because of erosion.