Archive for Thursday, December 27, 2007

Parks upgrades, with citizen help, eyed

December 27, 2007

With their sights set on improving the city's parks, Eudora parks officials are thinking of some creative ways to pay for the upgrades.

Planning for any improvements, starting with CPA Park, are in the initial stages,

"We're at the initial step right now where we're just sitting down with landscape architects," Scot Tolson, parks supervisor said.

Parks and Recreation Director Tammy Hodges said paying for improvements would pose a challenge.

"We're trying to repair our playgrounds, and we're just not getting the funds that we need," Hodges said. "So, we're trying to think up different ideas to get the funds to start doing some diagrams"

Hodges doesn't want to ask the city for money, but instead hopes Eudora residents will donate to the cause. One possible solution could be to give residents the chance to donate to a parks fund when they pay their utility bills.

Hodges wants to enclose a letter with water or electrical bills informing residents of the parks and recreation department's desire to improve the parks. The letter would ask if residents would like to round up to the nearest dollar on the price of their bill and donate the amount that is rounded up.

For instance, a bill for $15.40 could be rounded up to $16, leaving a 60-cent donation for parks projects.

"If you get 200 people to donate 60 cents, that's a lot of money," Hodges said. "That just helps us keep up on the cost and repairs of our parks."

Hodges said possible improvements at CPA Park include the addition of walking trails and construction of a shelter house with a kitchen, restrooms and a handicapped accessible parking lot on the park's east side.

Officials also would like to beautify the area around the new Paschal Fish statue in CPA Park with a botanical garden or fountain.

Benefactors who would like to donate more to parks improvements might be offered the chance to be memorialized in the park via plaques that could be affixed to benches or trees.

In the case of the walking trails, the Kansas Department of Transportation has said if the trails interact with revitalization of downtown Eudora, funding might be available.

Tolson said officials also plan to invite residents to volunteer time to the projects.

"That's definitely something we're going to be doing in the next year," he said. "We'll be trying to get some of the other service organizations involved."

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