Tasked with striking a balance between limited city resources and the need to update an aging parks system, representatives of the Prairie Village Parks and Recreation Committee on Monday presented a roadmap for making notable, if limited, improvements to city parks over the next four years.
The plan, which emerged from more than six months of consultations between the committee, city staff and professional designers, calls for Prairie Village to spend just under $1 million total on improvements to McCrum, Prairie, Taliaferro, Harmon, Bennett, Porter and Windsor Parks between 2014 and 2017.
The new, prioritized parks improvement plan is markedly scaled down from the recommendations adopted in the city’s 2009 Parks Master Plan, which called for approximately $4.5 million to be spent on the projects.
The proposal met with wide approval from the City Council, which is likely to formally consider funding of the first set of projects as part of budget deliberations later this summer.
“I think you’ve taken a highly adorned Parks Master Plan and made it practical,” said Councilor Michael Kelly to fellow Councilor and Parks Committee Chair Laura Wassmer.
Among the first round of improvements tentatively scheduled for 2014 would be a revamp of the McCrum Park, including burying the power lines that hang over the playground and tennis course, installing a park shelter and updating the playground area.
Also potentially on the docket for 2014 would be construction of a disc golf course on the presently under-used space on the south edge of Harmon Park.
While the Council seemed favorably predisposed to the committee’s scaled down plans, both Wassmer and Councilor Charles Clark stressed that they hoped the city would be able to invest more in parks.
“I sometimes complain that we don’t spend enough to maintain our roads,” Clark said. “Well, roads are an area where we should be spending twice as much as we are. Honestly I think parks are and area where we could be spending four times as much as we are.”