Archive for Thursday, May 29, 2008

De Soto needs to express views on county park

May 29, 2008

De Soto residents will have a chance next week to tell the Johnson County Parks and Recreation District what should be included in a new county regional park on the western boundary of De Soto. The park district through the firm hired to complete a master plan for what is called the Rieke Lake site will have a workshop from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Monday at the De Soto Senior Center, 32905 W. 84th Street. The public will be invited to give comment on what aspects the park should include.

Because the same firm was retained to complete the master plan for the Sunflower Nature Trail on 103rd Street, public comment also will be accepted for its development.

A 465-acre park on the city's doorstep is a mixed blessing. At least one De Soto planning commissioner has expressed aggravation with the park district's decision to buy and develop the land northwest of the 91st Street and Sunflower Road intersection. A park at the site coupled with the Intervet Inc. campus to its east effectively puts a barrier to the west-side development on 87th Street. The park will force future residential development farther west to near Edgerton Road, increasing the cost of home lots and the city's cost of providing services.

Those are valid concerns, but it is pointless to argue against the park now. What De Soto residents and city officials need to do is ensure that the park is developed in such a way that it serves the needs of the community that will some day surround it. The city's concerns start with access and trail links to the new De Soto Riverfest Park a mile away and the Kill Creek Streamway Park.

Also of interest could be the inclusion of "active" uses such as ball fields. Those elements were left out of the master plan for Kill Creek Regional Park three miles to the south of De Soto when county residents expressed a preference for more passive uses at public hearings before its master plan was developed.

We once again encourage De Soto residents to join City Council members and De Soto Parks and Recreation Commission members in sharing their views on how the future park can best be developed.

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