By Dorri Partain
After vandals torched one of the wooden picnic shelters in Budd Park in May 2016, park users were left with only one usable shelter house. At the time of the destruction, the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department estimated the cost to replace would be $65,000, which would take some time to appropriate.
Following the awarding of PIAC (Public Improvements Advisory Committee) funding, Budd Park will not only have the destroyed shelter replaced, but also gain an additional shelter and new sidewalks along the south border of the park along Budd Park Esplanade.
The Indian Mound Neighborhood Association has consistently requested funding for Budd Park improvements. According to Beth Beavers, the association’s secretary, funding was approved in 2016 and included new filtration for the pool and improvements to the park’s walking path.
Both locations for the new shelters were chosen for their proximity to the walking trail and popular attractions, according to Richard Allen, Senior Park Planner for the Park Planning and Park Development Department. The 20 ft. by 20 ft. shelters will be located on 40 ft. by 40 ft. concrete pads, with one next to the St. John side playground and the other at the corner of Brighton Avenue and the esplanade, next to the swimming pool.
The metal shelters will have colonial red rods and metallic gray posts, the total cost for the shelter, concrete pads and installation will total $70,000 for each.
“We have used this shelter at several parks throughout the city and they are attractive, maintenance friendly, and durable,” Allen said. “Once they arrive, they will be easy to install.”
The work will be completed before May 2022. The shelters being shipped are delayed due to worldwide backup of material production and logistics of delivery.
Current park shelters include a wooden structure similar to the one being replaced next to the playground on the Hardesty Avenue side, and the older stone shelter, built in 1926, that was designed in a rustic style by Edward Bueller Delk.
“Currently, there is no planned use for this [stone] shelter,” Allen said. “The location of the shelter makes it difficult to drive to and walk to from the surrounding streets. The cost of restoring the shelter and providing vehicular access and better pedestrian [access] will be a challenge. We plan to do a feasibility study for the building looking at different concepts and options. The options could include restoring, relocating to another area of the park and maintaining the same design and utilizing material from the existing shelter. The other options would be waiting and doing nothing or possible demolition of the building.”
While the neighborhood associations undergo the process of applying for PIAC funding, the Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners authorizes and contracts for the construction of approved projects.
Former Indian Mound Neighborhood Association President and current member of the Park Board Scott Wagner is pleased with the ongoing improvements to Budd Park.
“Budd Park is a major gathering place for the Indian Mound neighborhood and the Northeast community,” Wagner said. “Because of that, the Parks Department is always looking forward to making investments that can keep the park as a destination for any number of community and family events. These shelters will continue to make Budd Park that kind of destination.”
Construction of the sidewalk section along Budd Park Esplanade is slated to begin soon. The project is weather dependent but should be fully completed by June 2022.