R Park items in storage while city figures out how to come up with a plan; council rejects design contract

Trash receptacles, benches and picnic tables are being stored in the Roeland Park Public Works building while the city figures out where they should be placed.
Trash receptacles, benches and picnic tables are being stored in the Roeland Park Public Works building while the city figures out where they should be placed.

A number of new pieces for R Park are in storage at the Roeland Park Public Works building while the city figures out where to place them in the wake of the city council rejection of design development contract for the park.

Parks committee chairman Shea Geist said a steering group will move forward with getting input from volunteer committees that have an interest in the park and that will include the citizens fundraising group which has been responsible for paying for most of the items that are ready to be placed in the park.

That list includes 10 benches, three picnic tables, four trash receptacles and one bike rack: approximately $26,000 of new amenities. The design development agreement had been proposed to get paid professional help to design the exact locations for all future development, including placement of the new items in the park.

Before the installation of anymore permanent, and in some cases large amenities, a much more detailed and comprehensive design development plan needs to be prepared,” the staff report recommending the contract said.

Mayor Joel Marquardt, an architect by trade, said the design development is usually the second step in a process that starts with a schematic and ends with construction drawings. In the wake of the council rejecting the $14,800 contract for design, the next step, Marquardt said, is to get volunteers to help with the placement. The mayor has assembled a group that includes volunteer architects that has worked on several city development projects. He said he will “now ask them to weigh in on R Park.”

The council did approve a survey for the park, which will show topography as well as boundaries and precise location of current features. That is a good tool, Marquardt said, for the next step because it shows such things as how water drains, which affects future development considerations.

Geist said the development design was “not simply a ‘redesign’ of the Master Plan.” calling it the second step of a “professional process.” Geist said she hopes that some of the new amenities can be placed by this fall. No process exists now in how to place the items, Marquardt said.