Working on master plan for city's parks

The Mexico Parks and Recreation Department is negotiating a contract with a Kansas-based company to help the city develop a master park plan. Last year, voters passed a half-cent sales tax to help bring more revenue into the care and maintenance of the town's 11 city parks and trail.
Mexico has 480 acres of park land that serve to serve the city's 11,523 population. Those parks include: Jefferson Street Park, Hardin Park, Fairgrounds Park, Lafayette Park, Garfield Park, Lakeview Park, Teal Lake Park, Plunkett Park, Green Park, Northeast Park and the Dorcas Trail.
Earlier this year, the city requested statements of qualification from several agencies, and Shafer, Kline & Warren, Inc., in Lenexa, Kansas, was the chosen firm.
The SKW team consists of:
• Shafer, Kline & Warren that provides landscape architects, park mapping, public involvement and community planning;
• Dick Horton Consulting, a strategic park planning specialist;
• ET/Leisure Vision that develops statistically valid citizen surveys.
Parks and Recreation Director Chad Shoemaker said in a recent interview that the most important criteria for selection will be a firm's ability to provide the following:
"Our main needs in this process are to develop some of the basic planning tools we need to spend capital efficiently and to facilitate more cost effective maintenance programs. These same tools will make it easier to contract additional park development as reserves grow in the park fund over the next 5-10 years," Shoemaker said.
These planning tools include: a rigorous statistically valid survey of the community that tells what facilities and services the citizens want the parks sales tax money to fund, with ranked priorities; working scale maps of the park system; and an evaluation of the park system's property needs, including valuing and ranking in importance to the system, existing park properties.
"Our goal is to hire a firm that will integrate these outputs, other than maps, into the city's comprehensive plan effort."
Shoemaker expects it will be a few months before they take their recommendation before the council.