The group of Village Shops area homeowners who installed the infrastructure for a neighborhood gathering area on a city-owned traffic island without ever consulting city officials will be allowed to proceed with their plans for the space after a City Council vote Monday.
The Prairie Village Council approved a proposal suggested in a memo from the Public Works department that gives the neighbors permission to finish some of the landscaping work they’d planned for the area last fall. The group had initially hoped to keep a fire pit at the center of a gathering space on the island between Prairie Lane and Oxford Road. But after the city learned of the work done without city permission, those plans were put on hold as the council wrestled with how to handle the situation.
Under Monday’s agreement, the group will be able to finish landscaping the area at their own expense, though the fire pit will be covered up to create a table-like structure. The neighbors will also be required to make the island ADA compliant.
Four councilors — Ruth Hopkins, Andrew Wang, Dan Runion and Terrence Gallagher — voted against the agreement, with Hopkins and Wang raising questions about how the structure will be paid for and maintained. Wang, who was the most vocal critic of the group that organized the construction of the fire pit ring without city consultation, suggested he had a hard time trusting the group’s promise to pay for the additional improvements and maintenance.
“It’s just promises to me,” he said. “I’m extremely uncomfortable with how this thing got where it is today,” he said.
The full plans for the site include the installation of stone walkways and new shrubs. See the site plan below: