Guest Voice: Investing in parks’ future a wise move
[John Beaudoin] Of the many things we largely take for granted in Lee’s Summit, our Parks and Recreation amenities surely top that list.
Moving here more than seven years ago — and covering parts of Lee’s Summit from just one city north of here for 10 years — I have seen firsthand the monumental effort put in by parks and rec. Everything from new community centers and wellness campaigns, to youth recreation opportunities and concerts at City Hall Plaza.
In fact, what’s unique about this particular parks and recreation department is that you don’t have to struggle too much to find some way to make it a part of your daily, weekly or even occasional life.
LSPR has made good on its vow to plant and maintain community parks in neighborhoods all over this vast 65-square-mile city, while also making community centers accessible and keeping them relevant among citizens of all ages.
Part of the long-term planning by Administrator Tom Lovell, his crew and the Lee’s Summit Parks Board includes going back to the voters every 10 years (or in this case, a 15-year extension) to renew the one-quarter-cent sales tax that helps not only fund routine maintenance, but helps the department and board plan for the future — a future that includes upgrades, new facilities and more opportunities.
Among them: an outdoor ice rink; park redevelopment and upgrades, including restrooms, shelters, trails, playgrounds and outdoor fitness equipment at several neighborhood parks; additional community centers in the north and south areas of Lee’s Summit; development of a nature center; greenway and trail developments; and outdoor adventure park; and additional practice space, teenage programming and wellness programming.
Oh, and three more splashpads are on the books as well. If you’ve been to Miller J Fields recently, you’ve seen the amazing transition of a dusty park to one that has a new lease on life, filled with kids, parents and grandparents partaking in a state-of-the-art, water-filled fun time that has seen thousands of visitors since its opening in 2015.
Heck, I think the splashpads alone are well worth the investment (according to my 5-year-old, I am correct on this). These new splashpads help bridge the gap with neighborhoods in Lee’s Summit that do not offer swimming facilities close by.
Just one-quarter-cent of sales tax will bring in $3.5 million a year; over 15 years, more than $52 million. All money the Parks and Recreation Department and its Parks Board will be responsible to use in the most judicious, prudent and beneficial way for the betterment of Lee’s Summit.
This department, its board, supporters and volunteers have shown a propensity to plan well, spend judiciously and manage efficiently. Let’s give them the operating power they need to continue that so the next generation can truly appreciate the gem we have with our Lee’s Summit Parks and Recreation department. Vote yes for Parks on Aug. 2.