Shawnee County moves closer to having exterior trail around Gage Park

Shawnee County came one step closer Thursday to having an exterior perimeter trail around Gage Park.


Commissioners Bob Archer, Kevin Cook and Shelly Buhler voted 3-0 to solicit bids from companies interested in constructing parts of the trail that will run along the park’s west edge near S.W. Westchester Road and along its north edge near S.W. 6th Street.

Parks director Terry Bertels told commissioners that funding for the project would include $288,833 for the northern portion from a National Recreational Trails grant administered through the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism and $100,000 for the western part from the Sunflower Foundation.

The county is providing matching funding for the grants totaling roughly $150,000, Bertels said.

The trail’s eastern section along S.W. Gage Boulevard is already in place, while workers this summer are constructing the southern portion along S.W. 10th Street.

Trails are the most popular amenities in the county’s park system, Bertels said.

He said the construction of the perimeter trail fits in with the county’s efforts to develop a comprehensive, long-range master plan for Gage Park.

Commissioners voted May 8 to authorize the parks and recreation department to seek bids from consultants interested in working with the county to develop such a plan.

A county selection committee on Wednesday interviewed representatives of four consulting firms that are seeking that contract, parks and recreation director John Knight told commissioners Thursday.

Commissioners also:

— Voted 3-0 to authorize the parks and recreation department to pay $7,800 to Pyramide USA, Inc., to provide and install an “Aqua ZipN,” which combines a traditional rope swing and zip line, at Hillcrest Family Aquatic Center, 1800 S.E. 21st. The attraction will replace the center’s double tube slide.

— Voted 3-0 to contract with Topeka Young Life to be a nonprofit service partner with the parks and recreation department to provide programming that includes activities for education, development, wellness and mentorship. The arrangement comes at no cost to the county, except to facilitate assistance through in-kind services, publicity and assistance with activity materials.

— Voted 3-0 to acknowledge they’d received correspondence from Sheriff Herman Jones indicating he’d be using money from his office’s 2017 budget to buy 20 in-car radar units for $55,000 and four handheld units for $8,780.

— Voted 3-0 to appoint Matt Pettit to the advisory council for the Jayhawk Area Agency on Aging.

— Heard Kellen Seitz, new general manager for the Kansas Expocentre since its operations were assumed last week by Philadelphia-based Spectra by Comcast Spectacor, say the Expocentre will have a noteworthy announcement the week of Sept. 18.

— Heard Cook thank The Topeka Capital-Journal for its coverage of the ongoing creation of an East Topeka Learning Center.

— Heard Archer express thoughts and prayers for people recovering from Hurricane Harvey and those who are in harm’s way because of Hurricane Irma.

— Heard Archer say he will serve jury duty Monday and might miss that morning’s meeting.

Contact reporter Tim Hrenchir at (785) 295-1184 or @timhrenchir on Twitter.