From a new pavilion for summer camps and corporate events at the Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm site to long-awaited permanent bathrooms at the Lone Elm Park soccer complex, many improvements are coming to two of Olathe’s more popular greenspaces.
City Parks and Recreation Director Michael Meadors detailed the upcoming changes to the City Council on Tuesday.
In each case, however, council members said they were concerned with the projects’ costs and wanted to make sure parks officials look for as many outside revenue sources as possible before relying on taxpayers.
“I would love to do all we can, but I just feel like those park sales tax dollars are committed,” Councilman Larry Campbell said.
For the Mahaffie site, at 1200 E. Kansas City Road, Meadors and project coordinator Michael Latka said the department is building a 3,600-square-foot shelter in the northwest corner of the site to replace the dilapidated tent the site has used for years to house school groups and private events. The shelter will eventually be used for storage once a similarly sized pavilion in the southwest corner of the site is completed. That pavilion will include restrooms and a sound wall that will feature lighting and a sound system for large rental events, summer camps, fireworks displays and Wild West Days.
Meadors and Latka said they expect the new pavilion, along with added parking and relocating a horse arena, will cost around $1.2 million. They said the Parks & Recreation Foundation Board and the Mahaffie Foundation Board plan to hold a fundraising campaign next spring to raise around $100,000 for the sound and lighting system, with the rest of the $1.2 million coming from other sources, such as the city’s sales tax for park improvements, grants or sponsorships.
“We’re really at the front end of this,” Meadors said, adding that he didn’t have a timetable for the pavilion.
Other proposed changes at the site include an extension to the stagecoach trail, an expansion of the existing heritage center, and renovated versions of the original 1860s-era homestead and barn. Latka estimated those renovations could cost an additional $3 million or more, none of which is currently funded.
The department is planning to meet with neighbors living immediately west of the site on Oct. 9 to explain the proposed changes.
A proposed second phase of Lone Elm Park, at 21151 W. 167th St., would address a number of demands for the sport complex, which was completed in 2003 with eight soccer fields, five softball fields, a 40-acre prairie and picnic shelter.
Mainly, park officials want to build permanent restrooms for the soccer complex that serves as home for the Olathe Rush Soccer Club and plays host to occasional tournaments. It currently only has portable toilets.
Meadors said the new restrooms, along with parking improvements, would let the district attract more large-scale tournaments that could lead to hotel stays and other spending from out-of-town visitors. In fact, he said the park’s fields could complement the nine-field Olathe Soccer Complex under construction 10 miles away at Ridgeview Road and Kansas 10.
“Few communities have 17 fields at their disposal,” he said.
Other changes include adding a restroom, a shelter and a large-scale playground in the picnic area, replacing the softball complex restroom facilities’ septic system with a connection to the nearby sewer system and adding a shelter and playground in the softball complex.
The department estimates these changes will cost around $3 million, which they have already set aside from the park sales tax.
Meadors said he will ask the council next month to approve a contract with SWT Design to complete design work on the phase II work. He said the soccer complex work would be completed by May with the rest of the work done by next fall.
However, council members said they wanted to first review financial audits and tax records for the Rush Soccer Club and the Olathe Girls Softball Association, which is also housed at the park, to make sure the nonprofit groups are paying adequate rent and other expenses to the city.
They also asked Meadors to research how much it would cost to add lights to the seven soccer fields that don’t already have them.
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