A LONG-RANGE PLAN OF ACTION
In September of 1999, the Johnson County Park and Recreation District commissioned Thompson Dyke and Associates of Northbrook, Illinois and a team of nationally acclaimed specialists to prepare an analysis of existing District facilities and programs, and to develop a guide for planning and financing the District well into the 21st century. The resulting Master Action Plan, MAP 2020, is a comprehensive document designed to assist the District in effectively building on its award-winning past while efficiently confronting the challenges of its future.
RESOURCES AND GROWTH
The District's jurisdictional area is contiguous with the boundaries of Johnson County, Kansas, encompassing 477 square miles and a population of over 450,000 people. With the population expected to grow by 40% to more than 630,000 over the next two decades, the District is faced with several challenges in meeting the park and recreation needs of County residents. One of the District's primary challenges is to provide facilities in the growth areas of the County where existing facilities are few. Another is the competition for available land as developers strive to meet the housing and commercial needs of the forecasted growth.
The District currently offers a wide variety of active and passive recreation opportunities to its constituents. With facilities that include golf courses, athletic fields, aquatic facilities, marinas, a beach and a nature center, the District provides over 4,000 recreation and interpretive programs annually. Due to space limitations, however, the District must offer the majority of those programs at sites it operates but does not own. Of the District's 6,396 acres of parkland, only 20% have been developed for active recreation endeavors.
STANDARDS AND STRATEGIES
Based on a nationally recognized standard of 40 acres of parkland per thousand residents, the District has adopted a standard of 22 acres per thousand as its contribution to the overall system to be provided in Johnson County. Municipalities, the State of Kansas, the federal government and others will be challenged to supplement the standard in order to achieve the 40-acre minimum. The District currently provides 14.1 acres of parkland per thousand residents. The existing parkland ratio, coupled with population projections, make it necessary for the District to acquire more than 7,500 acres of additional land over the next twenty years. The acreage will be acquired in a manner that best provides regional access to park and recreation facilities for the growing population. To provide open space linkages throughout Johnson County, over 2,000 acres of the 7,500 acquired will be dedicated to the Streamway Parks System.
Some areas of Johnson County offer limited opportunity for acquisition of additional land. In those areas, a high priority will be placed on improving existing facilities. System-wide, the District will endeavor to purchase all properties adjacent to existing park sites that are suitable for park use.
A major focus in facility planning is the construction of four new multi-use centers and an extreme sports facility. Three of the multi-use centers will be collaborative efforts with municipalities, with one center to include an aquatic facility. The centers will be placed in major park sites, and they will be built and maintained primarily with tax dollars and user fees. The extreme sports facility, a collaborative effort with the private sector, will include a velodrome for cycling and will feature alternative venues for rock climbing, skateboarding and in-line skating.
A $191.9 million Capital Improvement Plan is required to meet the County's land acquisition and development needs. With an emphasis placed on acquiring additional parkland early in the implementation process, $133.2 million of the total will be required in the first ten years. Over the course of the 20- year planning period, $88 million is to be utilized for land acquisition and $103.9 million for park development. Included in the development costs are $16.7 million for expansion of the Streamway Parks System and $24 million for construction of major facilities.
The major portion of land acquisition and capital improvement costs, $157.3 million, could be financed through a voter-approved 1/10 cent sales tax and a temporary mill levy increase. Projections indicate that even at the proposed mill levy's highest level (in the second year of the plan), the resulting District- related property tax on a house with an assessed value of $175,000 would only be $41.34. By the final year of the plan, the District-related property tax on that same house could decrease to as little as $18.14.
The remaining $34.6 million needed to implement MAP 2020 would be funded through a variety of other mechanisms. Grant funding for some improvements would be available from a number of State and Federal sources. Additional implementation tools would include funding through foundations and gifts, developer donations, the granting of easements or conservation easements, joint use of facilities and other alternatives that reduce the need to purchase land. Site development costs would also be reduced through partnerships with public entities and cooperative agreements with the private sector.
A primary issue that will need to be resolved within the funding process of MAP 2020 is the value Johnson County residents are willing to place on the recreation and interpretive programs provided by the District. Historically these programs, and the facilities they require, have not received adequate tax support for either capital or operating expenditures. In a financial sense, therefore, they have not been treated as an equal and valued component of the District.
The recommendations contained in MAP 2020 have been carefully designed to offset the effects of urban sprawl and create a well-planned open space and recreational system for the benefit of all Johnson County residents. By strategically positioning the District to keep pace with ever-changing patron expectations and requirements, successful implementation of MAP 2020 will contribute significantly to the quality of life and continued prosperity of the County.
|The tables listed below have been provided for your quick reference:
Table of Parkland Standards
Phased Capital Improvement Schedule-Summary
Phased Capital Improvement Schedule-Categorized Detail Phased
Capital Improvement Schedule-Categorized by County Planning Area
Funding Analysis Table
Or, if you would like to view the report in its entirety:
Download Full Report in Acrobat (pdf) format