by Alan McArthur
The Platte County Parks and Recreation Department held an open house Tuesday night to get public feedback on the department's master plan.
The open house presented information from a recent survey and allowed residents to give input as to which features they think the department should work on.
During the meeting attendees could place dots on boards for the types of amenities they think the department should construct. One of the areas with the largest number of dots was to construct more athletic and sports fields in the county. Attendees also thought the department should focus on more swimming pools with lap lanes.
About six people also voted for the construction of an ice skating rink in the county as well as tennis facilities.
Of possible types of trails, the majority favored walking and nature trails.
According to the survey results provided at the open house, 73 percent of the 400 residents surveyed have used at least one Platte County park, trail, or recreation area during the past year. Around 40 percent of those surveyed had used a Platte County Community Center and 29 percent had used the Tiffany Springs Aquatic Center.
The survey also asked residents if the county should acquire more open space and for what reason it should be acquired. About 59 percent of residents said open space should be acquired along rivers and streams for “recreation, conservation and to protect water quality.”
The survey then asked what residents think are the most important functions of the parks and recreation department. The most important, with 78 percent saying it was very important, is to provide safe and secure facilities and programs. The next with 77 percent was to operate and maintain county parks and facilities. The least important option with 52 percent saying it is not important was to provide public golf facilities.
Another question on the survey determined the types of facilities residents have a need for. The top facility listing 77 percent saying they need it are walking, hiking and biking trails. The next two, both with 61 percent, are picnicking areas and nature trails and interpretive areas.
The least important areas for residents were: lacrosse fields with 4 percent, equestrian trails with 9 percent and indoor racquetball courts with 11 percent.
Since the parks and recreation sales tax was passed in 2001, the department has added 880 acres of parks and open space and 15 miles of trails. The department also worked with the Kansas City YMCA to construct 90,000 square feet of indoor recreation space. The department worked with the City of Kansas City to construct 22,000 square feet of outdoor aquatics area.