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Archive for Wednesday, September 15, 1999

PARKS, RECREATION WORKERS SEEKING INPUT ON FUTURE

September 15, 1999

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Two public meetings are scheduled to get input on a new comprehensive plan to guide the parks and recreation department.

The Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department is asking for the public's help in deciding where to build new parks and what kind of recreational programs the city needs for the next five to 10 years.

Two public meetings are scheduled this week to receive comments and suggestions that will be used in drafting a new comprehensive plan for the department.

"Five years have passed since we last did this and we want to update that plan," said Fred DeVictor, parks and recreation director.

In 1994, DeVictor said, the department used public input to draft a comprehensive plan that called for developing a large number of new parks and recreational facilities.

The plan led to voter approval that year of a new 1-cent countywide sales tax, with much of the city's portion of the proceeds earmarked for parks and recreation programs.

Lawrence's share of the sales tax revenue is projected at $6 million for 1999. Of that money, about $3.2 million goes into a reserve fund to pay for cash-funded recreation projects. Another $99,300 goes into the recreation fund for operating expenses, and $157,300 was used to help fund Eagle Bend Golf Course.

Since the tax went into effect, DeVictor said, the city has completed many of the items in the first comprehensive plan, including renovation of the downtown swimming pool, improvements at the Youth Sports Inc. complex and construction of the Clinton Lake softball complex.

It also has launched construction of a new indoor aquatic center adjacent to Free State High School and has just completed construction of the Prairie Park Nature Center at 2730 Harper, which will celebrate its grand opening this weekend.

Some projects on the 1994 list that have not been completed yet include development of Green Meadows Park near 31st and Kasold, and development of Hallmark Park on N. Iowa Street, DeVictor said.

Writing a new comprehensive plan, DeVictor said, will involve three components:

  • Reviewing what has been accomplished, and what remains to be done, from the last plan
  • Looking at growth patterns and working with the Planning Department to design parks for the newly-developing areas of Lawrence
  • Reviewing the administrative structure of the Parks and Recreation Department in hopes of making it more efficient.

To aid in the process, DeVictor said, the city has hired Leon Younger and Pros, a recreation consulting firm based in Indianapolis, Ind.

-- Peter Hancock's phone message number is 832-7144. His e-mail address is phancock@ljworld.com.



ADD TO THE PLAN

Have an idea for where to locate a new city park or what recreation program you'd like to see offered by the city?

Two public meetings are scheduled where you can tell city Parks and Recreation officials your ideas:

  • 7:30 p.m. today, Lawrence Community Building, 115 W. 11th.
  • 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Holcom Recreation Center, 27th Street and Lawrence Avenue.

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