Parks in Prairie Village getting updates, new features

03/04/2014 5:08 PM

03/04/2014 5:10 PM

Prairie Village parks will soon see some renovations, including new equipment and a disc golf course.

On Thursday the city’s public works department unveiled plans for improvements at four parks: McCrum, Taliaferro, Prairie, and an expanse between Harmon and Santa Fe parks. A public hearing was held in hopes of gaining public opinion on the improvements, but only a handful of residents attended.

Highlights of the $250,000 projects included updated play equipment at McCrum, Taliaferro and Prairie; new nature-based play areas at McCrum and Taliaferro; an accessible swing at McCrum; and a nine-hole disc golf course to be located between Harmon and Santa Fe parks.

Construction at the parks should begin in May and be done by June or July. Keith Bredehoeft, the city’s public works director, said this is phase one of a four-phase initiative to improve city parks.

Doug Pickert from Indigo Design Inc., which assisted Prairie Village in the nature-based design, said play areas featuring logs and boulders are new to the parks. In urban areas, play areas can be mostly metal and concrete. Adding nature-based play areas to McCrum, Prairie and Taliaferro parks will bring an element of nature more common in larger or more rural parks, he said.

“Kids are out day after day, all year long and never touch something natural,” he said. “This allows kids to touch and feel plants.”

Bredehoeft said the city plans a $20,000 disc golf course in an open area between Harmon and Sante Fe parks. Designers worked with the Kansas City Flying Disc Club to lay out the course, and the holes are designed to limit discs flying into walking paths or back yards.

Prairie Village resident Marc Bertolino is most excited about a new swing in McCrum Park specifically designed to meet Americans With Disabilities Act requirements. His 8-year-old daughter uses a wheelchair because of chronic seizures, and being able to enjoy the neighborhood park is very important to her.

“She loves that back-and-forth swinging,” he said.

When she was younger, Bertolino used a swing set in his backyard, and the Lee Ann Britain Infant Development Center at Shawnee Mission Medical Center had a similar swing. Now Bertolino, whose house is next to McCrum Park, has had to travel to Independence to find a swing set his daughter could use.

Bredehoeft said the swing cost about $700. A sand digger accessible to wheelchairs from the sidewalk is another ADA-compliant feature at the same park.

City Councilwoman Ashley Weaver of the 1st Ward, where McCrum Park is located, said she was excited about the changes.

“I have little kids of my own, and I think people will really enjoy it,” she said.

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