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Prairie Village City Council candidates on the issues: Supporting a trails system in PV
Today, our final question for the Prairie Village City Council candidates:
5.) Do you support the system of trails that were part of the Parks Master Plan adopted by the city in 2009? Should the city move forward with implementing that plan?
Dale Beckerman (incumbent)
Prairie Village is the city we enjoy today because its leaders have always looked ahead to identify and provide the amenities of a desirable residential community — from streets to parks to shopping. I view a reasonable trail system — one that does not endanger trees or encroach too close to homes — as another example of that forward thinking.
These are not trails for cyclists; they are for residents young and old. They will significantly enhance connectivity for the families we need to attract and retain (and who identify parks and trails as high priorities), as well as for grandparents like myself.
The cost is modest. Trails would be built on land the City already owns. Grants are available for some construction costs.
Proactively identifying and addressing critical needs is an important role of government. We have done this many times. The investment in the centers is an example. That was not an easy vote, but I believed then, and still do, that it was the right decision for the city’s future. Rather than watch the centers decline further (as some advocate), we partnered with the new owners. We invested a very modest share of the huge total cost of remodeling and assured that many necessary improvements will occur.
Benefits are already apparent, and more will come soon. Restaurant owners and retailers saw the commitment of LANE4 and the city to significant upgrades and leased long-vacant spaces. Sales tax revenues are already up (and helped the city close the 2011 budget year with a surplus of over $1,000,000). Corinth will undergo a major remodel this summer (visit “Projects” at pvkansas.com for drawings). And, despite all the agitation about the CIDs by candidates, not one resident submitted a question about them to pvpost.com.
Throughout these pieces, my opponent has said much about me (mostly negative campaigning) but almost nothing about herself. We have not heard a word about her qualifications or her vision for the city. She offers no hint she even recognizes the challenges the city faces, let alone has any realistic plans to address them.
It is a privilege to represent our ward, and I hope to continue to serve it and the entire City for another four years.
Our Ward 4 neighborhoods are very diverse. We have large, estate-size homes on multi-acre lots and we have traditional Prairie Village Cape Cods on small, compact lots. After careful consideration, I’m very skeptical of the trail plan as presented in the Parks Master Plan. A large amount of people whose property is affected by the 8-foot sidewalk don’t support the trail plan. I don’t believe we can retrofit a modern trail system into neighborhoods designed over 50 years ago. I fell we should instead focus on promoting our city’s inherent walk-ability, not look for money to pay for a plan even the current council wonders how to implement.
I am asking for your vote. It’s time to elect a new voice for Ward 4, although I appreciate our current councilman’s volunteer time. Whether negotiating with developers or just providing oversight of our budget, I will always look out the the best interests of Ward 4 and Prairie Village.
If you agree with me, then please give me your vote on April 3. Visit www.brookeforpv.com to get involved in the change. Together, we can make it happen.
Diana Ewy Sharp (incumbent)
I supported the trail concept during the Master Plan adoption in 2009 as a means of creating greater connectivity, recreational and exercise opportunities and safety for our residents. I am fully supportive of the Plan’s Phase One which calls for trails around the perimeter of our parks as indicated. This has been recently accomplished with the expansion at Franklin and the new trail around Weltner Park. Both trails have met with high praise from residents. However, it is becoming clear to me, as we continue to try to implement this plan in residential areas, the city will have to take a hard look at each segment, weighing all the factors, listening to area residents, being advised by the engineers, and take into account, the costs. I believe there will be many challenging areas where an eight-foot-wide trail cannot be installed and an expanded sidewalk will be the option. In regard to the proposed change to the current trail map, identifying Nall instead of Roe as the north-south connector, I am not supportive. The Plan’s consultant explained Roe was selected for many reasons including the fact there are three parks along that roadway. Nall does not have any parks. City staff had suggested the change as we worked with the City of Mission on the Nall road project last year. I supported that change but have since realized that there is also a trail recently installed on Roe which was part of another project with the City of Mission. With that already in place and knowing the system plans to connect to Overland Park at 91st and Nall, I cannot support the change to the existing trail map. Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this survey. Residents may learn more about my re-election campaign at www.dianaewysharp.org.
I believe our city has a responsibility to ensure all projects are in harmony with the surrounding neighborhoods. I am not in favor of destroying trees, retaining walls and landscaping for what appears to be nothing more than an oversized sidewalk. We need to incorporate a trail system which will not infringe on peoples yards and still provide safety for our citizens. I will propose Designated Cycling and Running routes that will make our streets safer for cyclist, runners, pedestrians, and motorists alike. This approach is less intrusive and less expensive than the current trails proposal.
The questions raised about the Tomahawk Trail Fence (PV Post on Thursday, March 22, 2012) are troubling and deserves to be addressed regardless of the outcome of the election. It’s baffling that $20,000 was wasted apparently due to petty personal issues. I promise to live up to the highest ethical standards that you should expect from your council-member.
I decided to run for council because I believe it’s time to revitalize our ward, Ward 6. Like many of you I have watched good friends leave our neighborhoods. Fewer and fewer homes in ward 6 are owner occupied. Crime is at near record levels. Our property and sales taxes are sky high and getting higher. Our ward is filled with promise. We have the legacy of JC Nichols. I promise to focus on the challenges that we face in Ward 6.
If you are ready for change, please vote for Ted Odell on April 3.
Visit www.tedforpv.com for more information.
Al Herrera (incumbent)
On the trails, I’ve never been a big fan of this project, mainly due to the property restriction available to the city to complete the trail as it is drawn up in the master plan. I find it intrusive to the home owners to have the city come in and take out the existing side walks in front of their house just so they can put in a trail. My other concern is the damage it might due to the trees along these routs, let’s keep the trails around the parks as we are presently doing now and not worry about trails. The money we would save from this project should go to McCrum Park for play ground equipment that is needed to finish this project now that the water tower has been removed,
The Parks Master Plan is meant as a reference point, and is something to be implemented as opportunities arise and our budget allows. As a homeowner, I do understand the importance of connecting our neighboring cities. However, I also believe we must consider the impact of 8-foot sidewalks through the properties of residents who live along these paths and plan accordingly. While 8-foot sidewalks may be appropriate in some places, in other places they simply are not. By fully considering all needs early in the life of a project, the costs associated are minimized.
I believe I offer a new perspective, fresh ideas and the commitment of hard work and determination to successfully represent the constituents of our Ward and our city. It is time to set a new tone at City Hall and you can count on me to lead, represent and vote in a responsible manner while staying focused on the issues that impact our life and our city! I am asking for your vote on April 3! Please visit www.AshleyforPV to request a yard sign and get involved!
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