There’s a city in Germany called Erfurt, and it has its eye on some Shawnee parkland.
It is to become Erfurt Park, named in honor of the German city — Shawnee’s sister city since 1993. Construction began Monday.
The park will sit on 15 acres fronting 71st Street on the north and running between Clare and Gleason roads. Its design will replicate the German city and its Ega Park, said Neil Holman, the Shawnee Parks and Recreation Department’s director.
Erfurt Park will have two shelters, multipurpose activity fields, European-themed gardens, a playground, a nature playground, a walking trail, public parking, a lookout mound near the sports fields and enlargement of an existing pond.
Shawnee owns five acres adjacent to the land for the park on its southern edge, which it will reserve for possible additions, such as shelters or an amphitheater, Holman said.
Construction on the $2.2 million park was scheduled to start in April, but bids for the work came in higher than expected, so the city regrouped and issued another request for proposals, he said.
The city entered into a $1.35 million contract with Lee’s Summit-based Mid-America Golf and Landscape for the project. Smithville-based DD Hawkins LLC is the main subcontractor for construction of the primary shelter and playground shelter. The remainder of the overall cost will go for all fixtures, landscaping and any contingencies, Holman said.
The city hired RDG Planning and Design for the park’s design. The city also formed a committee of residents, neighborhood associations, the school district and the PTA, and city staff to give input on the design. And a five-person committee in Erfurt helped with planning and design.
Erfurt Park also will have signs that describe the park in Germany, Holman said.
Shawnee will pay for nearly $2 million of the park’s cost through its “parks and pipes” tax fund, he said. The remainder will come from the city’s Parks and Recreation Land Use Fund.
Erfurt Park will become Shawnee’s 31st operational park when it opens next summer, he said. The city also owns three undeveloped parcels for future parks.
“It’s a good project, because that part of Shawnee, the southeast area, doesn’t have a park,” Holman said. “We get calls all the time on getting a park out in this area.”
Holman said that part of the new park’s value is that it’s “a true sister-city park.”
“We’re building a park that actually resembles the sister city and its park, both,” he said.