New renovations to come for Miller J. Fields park

rpulley@lsjournal.comMarch 14, 2014 

Lee’s Summit’s parks department is getting ready to renovate a neighborhood park.

Miller J. Fields park, at Third Terrace and Circleview in the Briarcroft subdivision, was designed and built 34 years ago.

“It’s way overdue for what we’re proceeding to do,” Parks Administrator Tom Lovell said.

The 18-acre neighborhood park serves as the home of Itty Bitty and Pee Wee sports programs and includes three baseball diamonds.

The department held a charrette, or planning meeting, with neighbors of the park March 11 at the Gamber Center to begin planning for the improvements. Suggestions from the small group included rebuilding shelters, baseball backstops and fields. Several liked the idea of adding a walking trail, but others were cool to the idea unless the trail design provides privacy for homes with backyards on the park borders.

Residents said use of the park drops steeply during the heat of summer, and so suggested a water feature, perhaps a spray ground.

Steve Casey, assistant superintendent of parks planning and construction, said the department mailed invitations to residents on the perimeter of the park and the four neighborhoods surrounding it. The department wants their reactions and comments from user groups.

He said the department is estimates it will spend a minimum of $600,000 on the park and hopes to begin some construction by fall.

Once the department has conceptual plans drawn, it will schedule another meeting for neighbors and users to comment, Casey said.

Other ideas were to add more benches at the playground. Additional lighting for security was another popular idea. Residents suggested an earlier curfew than the current 11 p.m.

The parks department will make some conceptual designs for residents to comment on at another community meeting at a later date.

David Zak said he’d like to see the park developed as a home for Safety Town, or maybe a mini-network of bike trail for young children to practice riding bikes.

Lovell said the reworking of Miller J. Fields is part of ongoing park improvements undertaken since Legacy Park was built and became home for youth sports.

With the reconstruction finished on Lea McKeighan south, Lea McKeighan north is getting new volleyball courts. Lovell said the department will hold public meetings for planning more new features at Lea McKeighan north, but those dates haven’t been set.

Howard Station and Wadsworth parks are likely candidate for upgrades in coming years, he said.

Lovell said the department staff assesses the conditions of other facilities in its inventory to decide which need upgrades next. (That’s different program from ongoing replacement of equipment such as water fountains of pavement done as scheduled maintenance.)

The parks department probably will undertake a new round of visioning, reviewing its master plan “Legacy for Tomorrow,” if the city’s park tax is renewed, Lovell said.

The parks tax expires in 2018.

To reach the parks department to make comments on Miller J. Fields call 816-969-1500.

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