Public input sought on future of Finnup Park

2/23/2013

By SCOTT AUST

By SCOTT AUST

saust@gctelegram.com

Two public meetings scheduled next week are designed to get the public's opinions on ways to improve Finnup Park as part of a process of creating a master plan that will guide the venue's future.

Schwab-Eaton, a professional engineering and design firm based in Manhattan, will be in Garden City on Tuesday and Wednesday to talk about potential improvements, additions and to see if people want to make any changes to how the park land is used.

"They're really looking at the total, future use of Finnup Park and what amenities we could add," Alex Mestdagh, assistant city engineer, said.

Finnup Park is the city's largest park, covering 110 acres in total, including the Big Pool, Finney County Historical Museum and Lee Richardson Zoo. According to the city's website, the park includes six picnic shelters, nine barbecue grills, electricity access at most shelters, three playground areas and public restroom facilities. It also includes a wooden gazebo located past the Main Street entrance that is popular for outdoor weddings.

While the zoo, the museum and the city recreation commission have master plans covering their portions of the park, Mestdagh said the open park land area does not.

"None of those plans have been consolidated into one working document. That's one goal of this master plan is to consolidate these plans with a new plan for the park area," Mestdagh said.

The park master plan will address the open spaces, playgrounds and shelters while also incorporating the other three organization's master plans.

Mestdagh said the consultants will be looking for new ideas and input from the public about the park.

"Now, I'm sure they'll want to take into account the master plans of the other entities, but they won't be revising those at all. Those have already been done. They'll just be incorporating them into the master plan (for the park)," he said.

Meetings are scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday at the Finnup Center for Conservation Education at Lee Richardson Zoo.

Tuesday's meeting is mainly an information gathering to solicit comments from the public about goals and visions for the park.

Throughout the day on Wednesday, the consultants will conduct a planning workshop, also at the Finnup Center, to develop conceptual plans that reflect the previous night's input. Interested citizens are welcome to participate in the workshop as their schedules allow.

Wednesday night's meeting will cover the ideas developed during the workshop and will seek public critique of those concepts.

The consultant will use all the information and comments gathered to prepare the master plan over the course of a couple of months. When completed, the plan will be presented to the Garden City Commission, possibly in late spring, Mestdagh said.

For more information about next week's meetings, contact Mestdagh at 276-1130 or alex.mestdagh@gardencityks.us.

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