Shawnee considers final review of strategic visioning, parks master plans

The 10-year parks and recreation master plan establishes goals for Shawnee’s parks, trails, open space, recreation and events. Pickleball players use Shawnee's Civic Centre courts last winter. File photo. 

Plans for expanding indoor space and programming at the Shawnee Civic Centre and review of the city’s role in sports development at the Valley of Champions were two key highlights from Shawnee’s parks and recreation master plan, which the governing body and advisory board reviewed last week.

During a special joint meeting May 5, the Shawnee city council and parks and recreation advisory board reviewed final drafts of the city’s first parks and recreation master plan and Imagine Shawnee, the city’s first strategic visioning plan.

The 10-year parks and recreation master plan serves as a framework for the city’s vision and direction and establishes goals and plans for Shawnee’s parks, trails, open space, recreation and events.

Heller and Heller, and subsequently BerryDunn, managed the visioning and planning processes. Representatives from BerryDunn, Strategic Government Resources and Stantec led the presentation of the final drafts.

Barbara Heller with BerryDunn said Shawnee’s involvement with the “valley of champions” — a collection of fields and sports facilities in western Shawnee — is one potential focus for the future of the city’s programming.

Out of the parks and recreation master plan came a list of priority recommendations for the next few years:

  • Research and plan for indoor programming space at the Shawnee Civic Centre
  • Expansion of Nature Play area and undeveloped area at Erfurt Park
  • Replace old platform play structures at Garrett Park with modern elements
  • Renovate tennis/pickleball courts and add new restroom at Herman Laird Park
  • Renovate tennis/pickleball and futsal courts, add Sister City Plaza at Listowel Park
  • Replace backstop fencing and add new restrooms and a skate park plaza for Swarner Park
  • Create a master plan and vision for Sand and Gravel Park
  • Replace lawn with turf in fenced area at both aquatic centers
  • Continue next phase of Memorial Gardens at West Flanders Park
  • Develop a master plan for park renovations at Stump Park

Here are the priority recommendations for Shawnee recreation:

  • Ensure funding for Pipes and Parks
  • Intentionally develop a more robust program menu geared towards those over 55 years
  • Consider more intentional teen programming
  • Ensure the intentional outreach and inclusion of cultural groups in future program development
  • Reassess the dance program menu
  • Explore the community’s desire for more special events

Although the city conducted the meeting remotely via Zoom they lost the live feed during the proceedings. As such, the governing body agreed to wait until the next city council meeting to adopt the strategic visioning plan. Meanwhile, the parks and recreation board unanimously agreed to adopt the master plan.

A full presentation and discussion of both documents are available on the city’s website. The public may email feedback to until May 15.

The city council will consider final approval of the strategic visioning plan on May 25.