First of ‘R’ Park amenities to be moved out of storage, installed in September

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.

By Sophie Tulp

A portion of the new amenities purchased for Roeland Park’s “R” Park will be installed “in the next month or so” according to Interim City Administrator Mark Pentz. The amenities, including 10 benches, three picnic tables, four trash receptacles and one bike rack, have remained in storage since their approval in February and purchase in March.

In February, the council approved the type of amenities purchased, and approved public works to take on the responsibility of installing the new amenities.

The Council asked Public Works Director Jose Leon to take on the planning and layout for the new amenities to be added to the Park, however according to Leon he “felt uncomfortable, and said no.” He asked the Parks Committee to attempt the layout, however they also noted that they felt the job was better suited for professionals.

“We are having a bunch of people who have no experience, laying out a park for the city,” Leon said at the council meeting Monday night. “The last thing I want to do is put amenities in a city park without having thought through a process.”

Instead, Jose proposed that a professional third party with more experience be hired to execute the planning and design, as well as update the park’s “master plan,” which has not been updated since 2011.

At the council meeting on July 20, council rejected the $14,800 bid from The Clark Enersen Partners to help the city lay out the amenities.

Since then, Leon went back to the drawing board, drafting up four options for the council to consider in regards to moving forward with placing the amenities which currently are residing in storage since their purchase.

During a long discussion at the council meeting Monday, Leon listed a number of options including: asking Clark Enersen to revise their quote to only focus on amenities layout for R Park; having Public Works install amenities for R Park based on recommendations by volunteer professionals and Parks Committee members; and having Public Works install amenities using layout provided by Parks Committee earlier this year.

After discussion, councilors chose to have four to five amenities installed within the next month or two, including the benches and trash receptacles, as advised for layout by a volunteer group of architects and planners, led by Mayor Joel Marquardt.

Public Works will install the pieces, and no third party or professional layout assistance will be sought. In September, Pentz says that the council will further discuss an update to the master plan by a professional group.

“What we are going to try and do is work through with council how we are going to have consultants help us update the master plan for R park,” Leon said in reference to the September meeting. “We are going to work on a couple ‘scope options.’”