Archive for Thursday, July 26, 2007

City council updated on park design

July 26, 2007

De Soto City Council members got a look last Thursday at a more refined design for the Kaw River Front Park with the promise that cost estimates and phasing suggestions would be presented next month.

Landscape architect Doug Pickert returned to update council members on his work on the park's design. Last month, Pickert presented the council with three concept designs for the park as a way of stimulating discussion of where to place the park's key elements of traditional park, festival grounds and RV campsite and such features as overflow parking, trails, tent camping, shelters and restrooms.

The refined plan Pickert shared last week was something of a hybrid of the two plans council members liked best from his June presentation. It would place the park's main entrance to the east so that would have the greatest visibility for those visiting the park from downtown De Soto. Of the park's big three features, the closest -- or easternmost element --ould be what Pickert called the traditional park.

In a addition to greens, picnic areas and a shelter, the traditional park would have a children's play area with some common playground equipment -- although limited because of the likelihood of periodic flooding -- and play elements such as hollow trunks, timber climbing sets and large blocks to go along with the large sand pile.

The park's center would feature the festival grounds with a double walkway designed to accommodate vendor stalls. It also would have a stage placed near the riverbank, which with some would take advantage of an existing five-foot slope and some earthmoving to create an amphitheater with a 10-foot slope from the double walkway.

A RV camping site, which was reduced from about 20 to 12 parking sites, would to the west of the festival area south of the existing boat ramp. Pickert's plan showed a tent camping area at the far western end of the site under an existing copse of trees.

Much of the project's initial cost will be for basic infrastructure, such as water, sewer and power lines to the site, restrooms and shelters. Still, Pickert said it was his hope that the city could afford to do some park development as well.

The council has agreed to spend $450,000 on the park in the next year with the goal it would be ready for the De Soto Chamber of Commerce's combination barbecue contest and blues and barbecue festival in October 2008. The park also would be the future home of the De Soto Days Festival.

With that in mind, the consensus on the council was that the first phase should focus on the festival area.

Pickert said he would return in August with cost estimates and construction phasing proposals.

City Administrator Pat Guilfoyle said the final design should be ready for the council's consideration in September. The project could be bid early next year and construction started next spring, he said.

In other business, the council was presented an ordinance that would limit the number of fireworks stands in the city next year to six. However, council members asked that City Attorney Patrick Reavey amend it so that a lottery could be used to determine which applicants would get permits.

The number restriction was first suggested by Councilwoman Mitra Templin who said she wanted to prevent the proliferation of stands that she witnessed in other towns on an early July trip.

The ordinance Reavey presented would have issued permits on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Finally, the council agreed to borrow $25,000 from the city's electrical utility fund to install an emergency warning siren on the city's east side. It was noted in the spring after the Greensburg tornado that those living in the Waverly Road and Corless Road areas could not hear the city's sirens.

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