Roeland Park City Council approves next additions to R Park; citizens group raising money

The trail in R Park is now open. It is the first of the projects funded by the citizens group.
The trail in R Park was the last major addition. It is the first of the projects funded by the citizens group.

The next phase of the R Park renovation, funded largely by a citizens committee, got the commitment and backing of the city Monday. The focus of the parks committee and the fundraising group will be to put benches, picnic tables, trash cans and bike racks in the park. Last year, the committee successfully raised enough money, supplemented by grant funds, to put a new limestone walking trail in the park.

Shea Geist, the city’s parks and trees committee chair, asked the city council to approve the committee’s choices for the next amenities to be placed in the park and also for confirmation that the city will fund the time and materials needed to install the benches, tables and bike racks in the park. The installation includes securing the items to concrete pads. She estimated the labor and materials through public works to amount to $13,393.

The council did affirm its commitment on both counts, but with Councilor Ryan Kellerman casting a dissenting vote. Kellerman said after the meeting that he is not opposed to the cost of the city installing the items, but believes the committee should have looked at acquiring used or recycled items.

The committee presentation showed specific styles of benches, tables and trash cans which are made from a hardwood that will weather well over the years. One of the committee’s criteria in its selection was that items should “fit the look of an upscale park.” All of the items are being purchased by the citizens’ fundraising group and not the city or the parks committee.

The 19 items include three picnic tables, six backed benches, four wheel chair accessible backed benches, four trash receptacles and two bike racks. The estimated purchase price for all of the items is $25,599.

The next fundraiser by the citizens group will be a “BBQ & Bluegrass” on April 11 at the Roeland Park Community Center.