Overland Park & Leawood

Workshop puts focus on Roe Park amenities

Updated: 2014-02-05T03:11:35Z


Special to The Star

An ice skating rink and a pickleball court are just a couple of ideas some residents would like to see implemented at Roe Park soon.

Overland Park city officials held a “Plan the Park” workshop Thursday evening at Matt Ross Community Center, asking residents what improvements they want to see at Roe Park, which is near 103rd Street and Roe Avenue. The city plans on making major changes to the park in the next year or two.

Dozens of residents showed up at the workshop to throw out ideas.

Many of them are saddened that Roe Park pool will officially close after the 2015 summer swim season, but many remained optimistic that other amenities could take its place.

Residents were asked to throw out their ideas in two groups. Those ideas were then placed on the wall. People were given purple stickers to place on the ideas they liked best.

The most popular ideas were new restrooms, an updated playground and a spray park.

“I’ll be thrilled if they build new restrooms,” said Rebecca Van Meter, an Overland Park mom who lives near the park. “I’m tired of using Port-a-Potties. I don’t like going to the restroom in a box.”

She was also a strong advocate for an improved playground.

Fellow mom Sean Droessler said she would like to see a nature-inspired playground, with log tunnels and rock climbing.

“Roe Park is close to my house and I have young children, so I’m hoping I can continue to use this park until they go to college,” she said. “I hope something positive can come out of these workshops. I don’t want to see the park go on a downward slide once the pool is gone.”

Residents living near the park weren’t the only ones who cared enough to provide input.

Charlie Droste of Lenexa was playing pickleball at Matt Ross earlier in the evening when he heard about the workshop. As someone who used to play softball there, he decided to drop by and give his two cents.

His idea? A pickleball court, of course.

“I’d like to see a pickleball court because right now we have to use tennis courts, which doesn’t make the game as good as it could be,” he said. “The game is becoming more and more popular among everyone, from kids to 80-year-olds. It brings a lot of happiness into people’s lives.”

Other ideas suggested included a community garden, sandbox, skate park and parking lot improvements.

“I thought there were a lot of good, creative ideas,” said Greg Ruether, director of parks services. “People were clearly thinking outside the box, which is exciting. People care about this park and want to make sure it will be utilized for generations.”

In a month or two, the city will hold another workshop about the park, he said. After taking all the ideas into consideration, the city will create a final draft of improvements. If all goes according to plan, improvements should be made to the park in the next year or so.

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