By Mary WilsonWith the upcoming election less than two weeks away, the Grandview Board of Aldermen already has sights on the August 5 election. City Parks and Recreation Director Eric Lucas presented to the board administration’s wish list of items to be considered in the upcoming no tax increase bond election. The goal of the work session was to come to a consensus as a board on the projects they would like to see brought before the voters.
“We started the seeds to success back in 2008 with the bond that we’re currently finishing up,” said Lucas.
The bonds from 2008 included the parks and public works facility, which has received a “Green Design” award from Capstone. Eleven of Grandview’s thirteen parks will be fully renovated within a few months. Brumble’s Forest in Meadowmere Park has been rated number one in South Kansas City, along with recognition received for the John Anderson Splash Park.“We see every day the positive impact that all of the facilities have had on our employees as well as in our community,” said Lucas.
The 2014 No Tax Increase Bond will be $13 million over twenty years. Continuation of these bonds will enable the city to continue to place emphasis on first-class public safety and the parks system, essentially a renewal of the 2008 bonds.“If we were to not place this on the ballot, or if it were to not pass, any future bond issue would be a tax increase because of the lack of bonding capacity,” said Lucas. “We would basically be starting over.”
On the public safety side of the bonds, the first item for consideration is a new radio system for the police and fire departments in Grandview. The city is one of two cities in the metro that has yet to transfer to the newer system, and it is a requirement that Grandview is broadcasting on the correct airwaves. The price tag the city is looking at is approximately $1.8 million.
"This will be the way we communicate, not only internally, but with other cities in the area in the event of an emergency,” said Lucas. “It is a city-wide safety communication system. If other cities are on the new system and we are not, then we have a lot of difficulty trying to converse.”
Also included in the safety portion of the bonds, the fire department would like to refurbish the ladder truck, while also buying an additional pumper truck, at an approximate cost of $450,000 each.Included in the parks projects to be considered are renovations at Shalimar Park. This entails renovating the former Shelton softball fields and turning the former Ricker baseball fields into multi-purpose fields. Also under consideration is a larger splash park in Meadowmere, north of Brumble’s Forest.
“Other than John Anderson, we don’t have another outdoor aquatics area where people can get wet,” said Lucas. “A splash park is really the way to go, short of building an outdoor pool, which can be extremely costly.”
Lucas said that a splash park would provide the water opportunity for the community, with minimal staffing requirements and low safety concerns. Another parks project would potentially be an expansion of the View. The expansion would be, according to Lucas, a teen/senior center. The wing would cater to seniors in the morning and early afternoons, and teens later in the day and in the evenings. Also in the Meadowmere Park area under consideration is the future Meadowmere East, which is the city-owned property directly east of the View. This property could potentially be a parking lot, tennis courts, basketball courts with the ability to flood with water for ice in the winter, a large green space, and an outdoor amphitheater.
The projects Lucas presented total approximately $12.8 million. City staff included a few additional projects to be considered, including secured police access at the police station and storage buildings, as well as a police and parks shooting range that would be open to the public at Grandview the ballpark.The city will be surveying the citizens of Grandview through social media and other forms of communication to garner the feel of the community in their support of these projects in August. City administration will bring the citizen survey results back to the board in early May for a vote before issuing the bond to be on the ballot. After the board determines what items the public will be voting on, the city will begin a community education campaign throughout the summer on the projects.