Northeast Joco

Prairie Village looks at pared-down parks plan

The Prairie Village City Council outlined its vision for the next four years of park improvements at a meeting Monday night.

And while the proposed plan, which will be considered during the June 17 budget discussions, calls for nearly a million dollars in upgrades, it’s a far cry from a 2009 Park Master Plan that envisioned a $4.5 million extreme park makeover.

“This is pared down to what we think is the bare minimum just to keep up and add a little wow factor, “said Councilwoman Laura Wassmer, a member of the Parks and Recreation Committee.

Under the revised plan devised by the committee she leads, the city would make $985,000 in improvements to seven parks (McCrum, Prairie, Taliaferro, Harmon, Bennett, Porter and Windsor) between 2014 and 2017. The original master plan focused on walking trails, adding nature play components to existing playgrounds, expanding parking and ornamental fencing. As Doug Pickert of Indigo Design, who drafted the 2009 Master Plan, explained, the revised version will still look to add natural play elements but shift focus toward infrastructure improvements and moving playground elements based on park use.

In 2014, the Capital Improvement Plan calls for $250,000 to be set aside for work in McCrum, Prairie, Taliaferro and Harmon parks. McCrum would get the bulk of the money, $148,800, to pay for new play equipment and swings, a new tricycle path, a fence along Roe Avenue and moving the power lines underground. A small shelter that was in Weltner Park would be moved to McCrum, as would a climbing rock from Prairie Park. New toddler swings would be added to Prairie Park, a new nature play area would be installed in Taliaferro Park and a nine-hole disc golf course would be added to Harmon Park.

“With the water tower coming down (in McCrum Park), it gives us the opportunity to do something special,” Wassmer said.

In 2015, $225,000 would be earmarked for Taliaferro and Bennett parks. The sports fields in Taliaferro need drainage improvements, while Bennett would receive a new eight-foot-wide walking path, a new play set and a relocated sandbox to make it ADA-accessible.

Major work at a cost of $375,000 would be done in Porter, Windsor and Taliaferro in 2016. Porter Park would get two new backstops, an extension of the walking trail to connect to Tomahawk Trail and a new nature play area. Windsor Park would get a new play set, park benches and improved field drainage. Taliaferro would get a new play set. And in 2017, the final year of the four-year plan, $135,000 would pay for a new nature and play set in Harmon Park.

“You took a highly adorned parks master plan and made it pragmatic,” said Councilman Michael Kelly.

To maintain the parks going forward, Public Works Project Manager Keith Bredehoeft asked for an additional $12,500 in 2014. The money would be designated for turf management, playground repair and the remediation of a stone wall at the Santa Fe pavilion.

“The parks are the gems of Prairie Village,” said Bredehoeft. “The streets are very important, but they’re functional. The parks are something that people take notice of. We want people walking to our parks. If we can build on that, it really helps our city.”

In addition to the parks plan, the council also recommended moving forward with three yearlong contracts. O’Donnell and Sons Construction would oversee the $3.1 million paving and draining projects that range from 63rd Street between Delmar and Mission Road to Somerset Drive between Reinhardt Lane and Belinder Avenue.

“We are not staying even with the city’s obligation to maintain our streets. At this rate we’re falling further behind. It’s a shame. I’m very sorry for future councils,” said Councilman Charles Clark.

TranSystems, in turn, would act as the city’s construction administration consultant for the second straight year. Bredehoft advised that at a cost of $299,299, this is work the city will consider using its own staff to conduct in the future. Prairie Village would also pay Serenity Landscape Design, LLC, for weed abatement services, which includes mowing at $30 per hour, on residential properties.