Perfect park

A planned park in south Lawrence could be a treasured part of the city, and residents should ensure that it becomes a reality.

Dedication ceremonies were conducted at Sesquicentennial Point last week. At this time “The Point” may not be as well-known as it should be, but hopefully in the years to come it will be recognized as one of the city’s and area’s most prominent landmarks.

The Point is located at the northwest corner of what could become one of the nation’s most unique and outstanding parks. Without question it would be the largest such park for any city the size of Lawrence.

Due to the long and dedicated work of Clenece Hills, there is the possibility of creating a park that would extend from Clinton Lake on the west to the Baker Wetlands on the east. It would include the large U.S. Corps of Engineers’ open space east of the Clinton Lake Dam and the soccer fields.

Lawrence is sure to grow to the south and southwest, and this large parkland would be a unique and treasured feature of the city. City planners should be careful in the coming months and years to limit any roadways that would go through this park. They should use New York City’s Central Park as a model. There are ways to cross through Central Park, but the roadways and walks are laid out in a manner not to disturb the beauty and specialness of this island of rest and relaxation in the middle of one of the world’s largest cities.

Lawrence has the opportunity to have a similar park.

The Point is planned to be adjacent to an amphitheater, which could host a multitude of programs and activities of various sizes. Clinton Lake offers all types of water recreation and is surrounded with various types of scenic trails.

The city’s Eagle Bend Golf Course, the long and broad green space of the Corps of Engineers’ land, the youth soccer fields, the open spaces along the Wakarusa River and the Baker Wetlands all would combine to offer an outstanding park.

At a time when various city and community groups are thinking about the future – how to attract new industry, how to jump-start the city’s relatively stalled growth and how to energize the citizenry – all individuals and groups involved in these programs should keep the potential and importance of a large park foremost in their minds.

This is a rare opportunity, and every effort should be made to help it become a reality. Clenece Hills, the city’s parks and recreation staff and the cooperation and help of the U.S. Corps of Engineers have all combined to outline the potential of such a large park. It would be a tragedy not to seize this opportunity.