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Trying again: Park officials expected to seek input from Hyde Park residents regarding empty Gillham Park maintenance building

Updated: 2013-08-21T02:30:14Z

By TRACI ANGEL

Special to The Star

Officials from Kansas City Parks and Recreation want to hear from neighbors about their desires after rejecting a recent proposal to reuse a historic building in Gillham Park.

The parks department decided to start over again since denying a proposal from The Soccer Lot LLC, said Forest Decker, natural resources manager. The local group, according to its website, is “dedicated to bringing 5-a-side soccer to Kansas City” while hosting leagues and tournaments.

The organization’s intention was to use the park grounds to run a league, Decker said, but its plan was incomplete.

“Their proposal did not address the requirements necessary to move forward,” he said.

Representatives from The Soccer Lot did not attend the most recent parks and recreation board meeting on Aug. 13 and did not return a query asking for comment.

The next step is to hold neighborhood meetings and ask those close to the building how to move forward, Decker said.

“We’ve had several individuals in the neighborhood express to us some ideas,” Decker said. “So we will seek community input before any other request for proposals.”

The parks department had used the building, which was designed in 1904, for maintenance. Parks operations moved out 18 months ago, and Google has been using the grounds as a staging area for installation of its fiber network.

Paul Mesner Puppets looked at the property for a possible location, but backed out last spring. A study had indicated it to be more costly than what the company could potentially raise, said said Bill Prenevost, Mesner’s executive director.

One challenge has been finding the appropriate tenant that can use the space while maintaining the historic features needed for landmark status.

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