In November and January, Parks attended neighborhood meetings with residents of Hyde Park, Old Hyde Park, Southmoreland and Rockhill to discuss the design of the Gillham Park spraypark. Based upon questions at the meeting, we wanted to send out some background information. First, funding for the spraypark is being independently sought by HPNA through Kansas City’s PIAC program. This is a program completely independent of Parks’ budget and the funds can only be used for the project in the application. So, if we receive funding to build the spraypark, that funding is in no way a diversion of funds from other Parks maintenance or activities.
Second, folks asked about the history of the Gillham Park Master Plan, which is the impetus for the spraypark. Attached is the Gillham Road Improvement Project (“GRIP”) 2003 Report to the Parks Department Development Committee. It was a very intensive three-year process that involved numerous events, individuals, and input from all five neighborhoods that border Gillham Road. Every effort was made to provide opportunities for all residents to express their opinions in person, through US mail, and through emails. The Gillham Road 2005 Master Plan was the outcome of the GRIP effort in partnership with the Parks Planning Department. The 2005 Master Plan was presented to the neighborhood through HPNA newsletter, website, and a general meeting. HPNA approved the 2005 Master Plan and communicated that to the Parks and Recreation Director in February 2005. The 2005 Master Plan was approved by the Board of Parks and Recreation Department Commissioners.
The Report and Master Plan have guided improvements over the last 10 years to Gillham Road totaling over $600,000 including the new playground and reconstructed stone stairs; bush honeysuckle removal by neighborhood volunteers and over 250 Home Depot volunteers two years in a row; over 50 new trees; resurfaced jogging trail donated; additional turf maintenance south of 39th Street provided by local foundation; additional turf maintenance north of 39th street provided by neighborhood donor; donated landscaping around Eagle Scout Memorial; and donated funds for upgrading and maintenance of the Eagle Scout fountain. Most of this was made possible because the community had a plan built upon extensive resident input and labors with the support of the Parks Department Planning and maintenance crew.
Q How is the spraypark funded?
A The funding is requested from the Public Improvement Advisory Committee (PIAC), which helps decide how to spend a portion of the City’s capital improvement budget.
Q Has the funding been approved?
A No. The Hyde Park Neighborhood Association (HPNA) submitted a request to the PIAC committee to receive the funding. The PIAC Committee will make recommendations to the City Council. The Council must vote to allocate the money.
Q What is going to happen to the pool and structures (aka the slabs)?
A The pool is in disrepair and must be removed. HPNA and KC Parks plan to hold meetings to allow for resident input regarding the fate of the slabs.
Q Why isn’t the pool being rehabilitated instead?
A The pool’s mechanical systems are beyond repair. The plan is to keep the pool open during the summer of 2016 to the extent it is safe to do so.
Q Is there going to be additional parking?
A The project’s scope is limited to the spraypark.
Q Will there be restrooms?
A The project’s scope is limited to the spraypark. Parks is working on a permanent restroom solution for the Park. Until then, we may have portable restrooms available.
Q What security measures will be taken?
A Hours of operation will be posted, thereby restricting loitering at the spraypark outside the normal operation. Also, under discussion is the type and amount of lighting to provide nighttime visibility without compromising the aesthetics.
Q How will the litter that people generate be handled?
A There will be an additional seven trash cans located in and around the spraypark.
Q Will the existing trees and landscape be removed or changed?
A The plan makes as few changes as possible to the existing trees and landscaping. There are no plans to remove any existing trees and additional ornamental trees will be added at the East edge of the spraypark. The site will be graded to keep the slight Southwestern slope. Several shade trees will also be strategically placed.
Q Wouldn’t the money be better spent on repairs to the playground?
A This request does not divert any funds for playground repair or maintenance. Capital improvement funds from PIAC can only go towards specific types of projects. PIAC funds are in addition to the KC Parks Department budget.