Roeland Park council candidates on the issues: What’s the city’s role in developing parks?

The trail in R Park opened in late 2014. It is the first of the projects funded by the citizens group.
The trail in R Park opened in late 2014. It is the first of the projects funded by the citizens group.

Today we continue with responses to the questionnaire we developed with reader input for the candidates running for Roeland Park City Council. Today’s questionnaire item is:

A citizens group has been raising money for improvements at R Park. Concerns also have been raised about the condition of Nall Park. What do you see as the city’s appropriate commitment to these and other park lands? What steps should the city be taking now?

Ward 3 Candidates

Linda_Mau15Linda Mau

The city’s commitment is to first provide basic services; i.e., police, streets, infrastructure etc. Our city is still facing an uncertain financial future. Parks are a wonderful attribute for any city. If a citizen’s group would like to work with the city on improving the city’s parks I would be more than willing to work with them. However, the financial stability of the city and its revenues are a priority.

Erin_Thompson+HeadErin Thompson

The R Park initiative and the work the Parks Committee has done to improve Roeland Park is invaluable. Without the dedication of the citizens fundraising initiative, R Park would not be the gem it is today. This private and public funding partnership worked well for R Park and provides a blue print for how the city can support parks. Going forward the city should not be averse to investing its own funds into parks, including Nall Park.

A system of green spaces conserves natural ecosystem values and functions, sustains clear air and water, and provides a wide array of benefits to people and wildlife. This “green infrastructure” provides the framework needed for environmental and economic sustainability. By planning and managing parks, cities can reduce flood control and storm water management costs. Parks make Roeland Park a more desirable place to live and have a business.

Investing in Nall Park makes economic sense for Roeland Park and makes it a more desirable place to live.

Ward 4 Candidates

Poppa+15_HMichael Poppa

Our parks and community spaces are treasured by all Roeland Parkers. The decision to open a business or call a new neighborhood home can involve many factors, including location, safety, schools, convenience, community and overall perceived property values. Carefully maintained parks attract business and jobs, increase property values, and enhance the quality of life we have come to enjoy. I am committed to improving and maintaining our spaces.

Joanna_Rush_15JoAnna Rush

Roeland Park is a beautiful city. Our lush trees, parks, proximity and friendly neighborhood make it a great place to live. The city needs to find the right balance of supporting our green spaces while minimizing maintenance costs.

Citizens working together to raise money and obtaining grants are a great way to help defray the costs for updates and improvements. The city should encourage and support these groups as much as possible.

Recently, the city has begun to address Nall Park. They authorized an engineering study to determine how the city can connect the walking trail from Nall Park to the Community Center. This study will provide several options and their costs. After receiving that data, the council can discuss how to proceed.

When determining the city’s commitment to the parks, the city should consider how frequently each park is used, the state of the equipment, the costs of improvements and listen to resident input. We all benefit when our parks are safe and well maintained.

Ward 2 Candidates

Tim_Janssen_HeadTim Janssen

Parks are an important part of our community and should be maintained. The new walking trail at R Park is a great example of what a citizen group can accomplish and we should support their efforts. Nall Park offers some challenges with broken down infrastructure, rough terrain and geographically located next to a waste water treatment plant. With that said Nall Park is a nice piece of property and in the short term we should provide a safe trail connecting the park to the community center. I think both city and community involvement is a viable option to make the park’s improvement’s a reality.

Blake_MorganBlake Morgan, Jr.

The citizens group that came forward and began suggesting and organizing changes, and raised money for R Park, did so on their own volition. Gretchen and Ardie Davis did, and continue to, exhibit a lot of leadership in this regard, and should be commended for their efforts. R Park is a new asset to the City, and garners a lot of interest because of that. If someone wants to do the same for Nall Park, more power to them. We have a mechanism in the City through the Roeland Park Community Foundation, which I am the Chair of, for citizens to make charitable, tax-preferred donations and those donations can be earmarked for certain things, like new benches in Nall Park, or other improvements. Nall Park is challenged because it is adjacent to a wastewater treatment plant, but maybe that’s an opportunity for some creative aesthetic improvements. Maybe something else needs happen to that piece of land. I’m open to suggestions regardless.

Tomorrow, the candidates will respond to item three:

The Roeland Park City Council is known for its lengthy discussions and multiple meetings. Do you believe procedural change is needed or do the long proceedings represent good process? Please explain changes you would encourage or why the current process serves the city well.