|New Series of Park Master Plan Forums set for mid-may|
“3 Plans for 3 Parks” is the name consultants hired by the Johnson County Park and Recreation District are using to refer to a new effort to update master plans for Shawnee Mission Park, Heritage Park, and Ernie Miller Park. Once completed, the new master plans will guide future development of the parks and will be implemented over a number of years.
Members of the public will get an initial opportunity to offer input into this process when a series of public forums - one at each of the effected parks - takes place in mid-May.
Each of the meetings is scheduled from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The first park planning forum will take place on Tuesday, May 13, in the Board Room of the Administration Building at Shawnee Mission Park, 7900 Renner Road, Shawnee. The second forum will take place Wednesday, May 14, in the Green Room of the Heritage Park Golf Course, 16445 Lackman Road, Olathe. The third forum will take place on Thursday, May 15, at the Ernie Miller Nature Center, 909 N. Kansas Highway 7, Olathe.
Each forum will include a review of the park's current conditions, facilities, and services and a discussion of the master plan update process. Following this review, the members of the public are invited to comment on those features of the park they would like to see added or improved.
In February the District hired Landplan Engineering, P.A. of Kansas City, Mo., to update the current master plans for each of the three parks. Formulating new plans for these facilities was a recommendation of the District's 20-year Master Action Plan, MAP 2020, which was put into place two years ago. MAP 2020 recognized a need to update development and renovation plans for various district parks as a guide for the next 20 years.
Project Manager Doug Pickert of Landplan Engineering said the meetings are designed to inform the public of the specific conditions and current services offered at each park and to begin to collect public comment on what improvements or additions they would most like to see. “Public input is a vital component of the planning process,” Pickert said. “The experience of park users provides a valuable resource in making decisions that will guide the future of these very important parks – parks that truly enhance the lives of all Johnson County residents.”
The forums are scheduled on consecutive evenings at the park locations in an effort to give park users ample opportunity to join in the planning process. “We consider this the Project Discovery Phase of the project which is designed to set a basis or agenda for moving forward with the planning process,” Pickert said.
Each meeting will begin with an overview of the master plan process and information about any improvement activities recently undertaken at the specific locations. Following the opening comments by JCPRD staff and Landplan Engineering, the public will be invited to participate in small topical group discussions. Participants may elect to join a discussion on issues such as traditional park features, sports and special uses, or natural resources. At the conclusion, group leaders will recap their individual discussion points for the entire audience.
From the initial round of meetings in May, the consultants will begin to identify the issues of most concern to the public ranging from the development of sports opportunities, to natural resource management, to public safety. Together with District staff, the next step in the master plan process will be the “Concept Development Phase.” The concerns and ideas expressed by the public will be used to develop two or three concepts for each park. These concepts will then be presented at another round of public forums scheduled tentatively for September. Additional public comments will be sought prior to development of final master plans for each park.
Those individuals who are unable to attend the public meetings are encouraged to submit in writing their thoughts on the master plan update process of any of the three parks in which they have an interest. Public comment forms are available on the District's website at www.jcprd.com and are also printed in the Summer issue of the District's Activities catalog.
The 3 Plans for 3 Parks effort follows the recent separate development of a new master plan for Antioch Park, also in response to MAP 2020 recommendations. That effort, which followed a similar process, began in December 2002 and concluded in April.
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