The Garden City Telegram
2/21/2013
OPINIONS AND COMMENTARY

Park plan

Citizen involvement key
in future of Finnup Park.

Count Finnup Park among top destinations in southwest Kansas.

Visitors may take in such outstanding attractions as Lee Richardson Zoo, the Finney County Historical Museum and The Big Pool.

Beyond those gems, Finnup Park also has several picnic shelters that serve as ideal spots for picnics and other gatherings.

Covering 110 acres, the park is a valuable asset worthy of continued investment.

And now, local residents who care about Finnup Park's future have an opportunity to help craft plans for the venue.

A master plan for Finnup Park is in the works, one that would consolidate plans for the zoo, museum and nearby ball fields into a single, more manageable document. Public meetings to discuss the master plan are scheduled for 7 p.m. Feb. 26 and Feb. 27 at the Finnup Center for Conservation Education.

At Tuesday's meeting, participants will be encouraged to share their vision and wish lists for the park. The public meeting Wednesday will give people an opportunity to comment on plans developed during a workshop earlier in the day.

Discussions will focus on a park that traces its roots to 1919, when George Finnup donated land for the park in memory of his father, Frederick Finnup.

Three years later, the pool was built by volunteers and touted as the world's largest outdoor concrete municipal swimming pool that was free to the public. In 1927, the zoo was established.

Today, the park features natural beauty, historical interest, educational value and recreational importance. How could it be made even better?

Ideas might range from efforts to make the park more useful to residents interested in walking or jogging their way to wellness. Or, at a time there's interest in drawing more visitors to town, thoughts could turn to improvements to the ball fields that better position the community as a destination for youth and adult tournaments.

Possibilities could go on and on.

Finnup Park has a glorious history. It deserves an equally impressive future.

Local residents of all ages who acknowledge as much should take advantage of the opportunity ahead to share ideas on ways to help the park grow and flourish.