After years of disrepair at Nall Park, Roeland Park City Council edges closer to a fix; bathrooms broken for more than a decade

The bathrooms and shelter at Nall Park are in need of repair.
The bathrooms and shelter at Nall Park are in need of repair. The bathrooms have not worked in more than a decade.

It has been more than a decade since the bathrooms worked at Nall Park. The electricity to the shelter doesn’t work and it is showing signs of rot. The drinking fountain doesn’t work either. But Roeland Park is edging closer to making an investment to reverse the years of neglect.

“I’ve been waiting five years for this discussion,” Roeland Park City Councilor Becky Fast said this week. Fast has been the council champion for the resurrection of the park. The discussion that Fast had been waiting for during her five years in office was about a task order for design of the bathrooms, shelter and drinking fountain for upgrade. “It’s the first time we’ve had a task order,” Fast said. The park has been subject to more than 10 years of neglect, Fast said, and a master plan for the park was never acted on by the city.

Public Works Director Jose Leon said the shell of the bathrooms is all that can be saved. The bathrooms currently do not meet ADA standards and the interior is in poor shape. A portable toilet now sits at the park. The shelter needs electricity restored to provide lighting plus other repairs. He proposed a task order of just over $11,000 to pay for the design and construction estimates.

City staff will come back to the council in July with a recommendation on how to fund the task order. Only $10,000 is currently in the budget for Nall Park upgrades.

The design work would make any actual construction possible in 2016, but the council would have to fund it when cost estimates are completed. Fast said in years past the council would not even consider a task order.

Leon said it was a “big step” for the city toward maintaining “what we already have.” He said people are at the park daily. He told the council that a family holding a party at the shelter recently complained about the lack of bathrooms and lighting. The city does not reserve or rent the shelter currently, he said, which could be a problem if two parties show up at the same time.

Councilor Ryan Kellerman said reservation would provide a way to keep track of how often it is used.