Warner Memorial Park Master Plan

Master Plan Summary

Manhattan Parks and Recreation worked in collaboration with the LAR-320 Studio from the Landscape Architecture Department at Kansas State University. The LAR-320 Studio developed multiple conceptual design alternatives for City staff to consider during the process of updating the Warner Memorial Park Master Plan. The purpose of the focus group was to share community member's perspectives on the park.

Five neighborhoods and three stakeholders were contacted and invited to attend the Warner Memorial Park Master Plan focus group. All those invited were able to attend the meeting. Neighborhoods represented include Miller Ranch, Warner Park/Arbor Heights, Cherry Hills, Lee Mill Heights, and Oaktree Townhomes. Representatives from the Little Apple Disc Golf Club, Manhattan High School Cross Country team and Kansas State University Cross Country team were also present. City staff present were Wyatt Thompson, Assistant Director of Parks & Rec; Casey Smithson, Park Superintendent; and Alfonso Leyva, Park Planner.

The Park Planner had seven questions prepared for the meeting. The first few were all that it took for the discussion to take off with ideas. The community members and students began interacting in a productive manner. Most of the points prepared by the Park Planner were covered during the hour-long meeting. The general consensus from the meeting corresponded with the survey data collected last year in the 2017 Warner Memorial Park Master Plan Neighborhood Survey Results. The results can be viewed here: Warner Park Survey

The LAR-320 Studio presented their final concepts on Saturday, April 14th, 2018 to the public during an open house. Concepts of " A Vision of Warner Park" will also available here:

Warner Memorial Park: LAR-320 Studio Concepts

Warner Memorial Park: LAR-320 Studio Booklets

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Aromatic Sumac and Blue Sage

With completion of the students’ concepts, City Staff began preparation of two Master Plan concepts based on the students’ ideas and public feedback. The process included opportunities for public input through City Advisory Board meetings and multiple public engagements. The first neighborhood meeting was at Warner Memorial Park on July 12, 2018 and the second was at the Flint Hills Discovery Center on July 19, 2018. City Staff mailed postcards to residents within 500 feet of the park, emailed various neighborhood groups/stakeholders, and advertised on social media. Approximately 43 people attended the first meeting, and 29 at the second, consisting primarily of park neighbors and disc golf supporters. The two concepts can be viewed here:

Aromatic Sumac

Blue Sage

Coralberry

During August and September, 2018, City Staff combined the two initial concepts and created a single concept, “Coralberry,” based on community input and advisory board suggestions. When Coralberry was available for public viewing in mid-September, HouckDesign had finished Phase 1 of their contract, which involved site analysis and routing of the proposed disc golf course expansion. The proposed layout was incorporated in the Coralberry concept and City Staff went out to the public for feedback. The Coralberry concept can be viewed here:

Coralberry

On September 19, 2018, City Staff held a meeting at Warner Park to discuss the Coralberry concept. About 70 citizens attended and the biggest topic was the expansion of the disc golf course. Many disc golf supporters showed up but the majority were neighbors of Warner Park. A handful of neighbors were in favor of the expansion; however, the majority were in opposition to expanding the disc golf course to 18-holes as it is currently laid out in the Coralberry concept. John Houck with HouckDesign was present at the meeting, and interacted with multiple citizens concerned with the expansion of the disc golf course. One of the concerns was how close the fairways appear to show up on the plan near the northern property line. John mentioned that a 30-40 foot buffer would exist between the course and the property line of Warner Park. These areas would be buffered by vegetation left untouched in the process of sculpting fairways.

On October 1, 2018, City Staff presented the “Coralberry” concept to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. “Coralberry” proposed additional trails, improvements to existing shelters, an18-hole championship disc golf course, new shelter, restrooms, and larger parking lot on the east side of the park, off-leash dog park, a nature playspace, rockery gardens to control erosion, and removal of invasive plants such as eastern red cedar and honeysuckle. Approximately 70 people attended the meeting. Twenty residents shared comments and concerns about the proposed Coralberry Concept. Eleven spoke in opposition to expanding the existing disc golf to an 18-hole course; five spoke in favor of expanding disc golf; and four people had general comments about the Coralberry concept. The meeting minutes are attached for full details. In short, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board has recommended the Coralberry Concept for the Warner Park Master Plan with removal of the disc golf expansion, dog park, and nature playground. The Park Board stated that Warner Park was not a suitable location for an 18-hole disc golf course; however, the board agreed that the existing 9-hole course should remain. The Board had concerns about access to the proposed dog park and nature play space. Members were not necessarily opposed to the activities, but were concerned that the existing park access would not allow for sufficient use of those amenities at the proposed locations.

After the Park Board meeting of October 2018, the master plan process was presented to the City Commission at a work session on November 27, 2018. At that time, City Staff presented the Coralberry concept and a modified version of Coralberry that the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board recommended.

At that time, the City Commission raised a few questions and requested further information before making a decision on the Warner Memorial Park Master Plan. They wanted staff to further explore disc golf in Warner Park and at other locations in the community. The City Commission also wanted to explore options to open the road within the park. Lastly, they wanted further research in to claims of Native American burials in Warner Park.

Master Plan Update

City Staff updated the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board on the latest Warner Memorial Park Master Plan process on August 5, 2019. The presentation document and additional information can be viewed at this link: PRAB Meeting Presentation and Additional Information

Additionally, the Park Board meeting can be viewed at this link: PRAB Meeting

The next public meeting concerning the Warner Memorial Park Master Plan will be at a City Commission Work Session to be held at 5:30 PM on August 27, 2019, in the City Commission Room, 1101 Poyntz Ave.