By Sophie Tulp
Roeland Park citizens are seeing their requests met after the recent renovation of Granada Park was completed earlier this month, say members of the committee overseeing the city’s parks.
Last year, a group of 10 citizens were chosen to help the city develop a strategic plan for the next five years. The committee surveyed residents and asked for feedback on a number of features Roeland Park offers, asking for areas of improvement.
According to Parks and Recreation committee member and Strategic Planning committee member Kathleen Whitworth, one of the things that came up high on the list consistently from the 400 replies was the “environment, trees and parks” category.
“[Our parks] are very important to the citizens they wanted us to focus on that within the next five years,” Whitworth said.
Now, one year later, TIF money that had been set aside was just used in completion of a full renovation at Granada Park at 51st and Granada. The highly-trafficked park’s most popular feature, the skate park, was suffering deterioration in its concrete.
The approximately $97,000 project rehabilitated the concrete at the skate park, as well as constructed concrete pads for picnic tables and trash receptacles. In addition to the construction work, crews added amenities like new trashcans, benches, artwork, drinking fountains and full handicap accessibility.
The project, which had an initial 40-day timeline was pushed back after numerous rainstorms in May. The construction component was finally completed the first week of July. Now, Director of Public Works Jose Leon says the last thing left before the park is “100 percent complete” is restoring the grass in the surrounding area, which he says should be completed in the next two weeks.
With the restoration at Granada Park almost officially complete, the department is looking towards other areas of need. Leon says there will be work done in R Park off of 56th and Sherwood. New amenities will be added, and Leon says they are “trying to work [their] way there right now.”
At Nall Park, the city’s second largest park, which is located at 48th and Nall, research is currently under way to assess the costs on the potential renovation of the bathroom facilities, which are currently closed, in order to get them working again.
“When they adopted this strategic plan there was a renewed interest in parks, especially with our new public works director,” Whitworth said. “I…think in doing that work, the citizens kind of told the city officials that parks, environment, greenspace are important to us.”