As residential development continues in Blue Springs' southern reaches, the city is considering developing two new possible parks for residents.
The city already owns the land for both potential parks. Roscoe Righter Park, named after the city's former longtime parks and recreation director, would be on 75 acres next to Mason Elementary (Lee's Summit School District) off Colbern Road, between Missouri 7 and Shrout Road. Southwest Park would be on 50 acres near the Wyatt Road dead-end east of M-7, abutting Bridger Urban Conservation Area.
The City Council last week approved a contract with Stantec Consulting Services for $161,710 to do a park site master plan study, which will take about 6-8 months, the city says.
City staff selected Stantec, which is in Overland Park, Kansas, from five finalist firms that responded to a request for qualifications (RFQ).
With the half-cent park sales tax set to expire in September 2022 after five years, Parks and Recreation Directors Dennis Dovel said the city needs to determine if such park development would be supported by residents in a possible tax renewal request.
The current sales tax was expected to provide about $15 million in funds for deferred maintenance and enhancements at current parks, including new playground sets, shelters, court replacements and field fix-ups.
“That's playing a big factor in what we're looking at,” Dovel said. “Keystone Park (behind Daniel Young Elementary) is our southernmost park, but it's really a neighborhood park. The council made the investment a while back to purchase this land for future parks.
“Part of an extension would be keeping up with amenities, but we need to start addressing other things, and we're trying to determine ‘Is there support if we put it on the ballot, and what would people want (a park),’” Dovel said. “It certainly won't be the only thing, because deferred maintenance is still a big priority.”
In a similar vein, the city in December contracted an outside firm to gauge possible public support and need for a new public aquatics facility.
Dovel said Stantec will have community meetings, a community survey sent to a representative portion of area residents and an open survey for any resident to submit feedback.
“When you hold just an open house, you can get low attendance,” Dovel said. “Instead, they're trying to go to places that people frequent.
“We as a staff don't want it to be perceived as being done by staff behind closed doors,” Dovel said of possible parks plans. “It's all part of doing due diligence before going to the voters.”