Commissioners desire more information before the Oakland Pool design is approved

First project to be funded by Gage Park Sales Tax in its first stages
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Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 6:49 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A scheduled action on the Shawnee Co. Commission agenda was pushed back because commissioners needed more questions answered. However, commissioners were able to approve some requests, including the first steps of a project funded by money generated from Gage Park sales tax.

Listed on the Shawnee Co. Commission agenda for Thursday, Sept. 14, was to consider and/or approve the agreed-upon design for the Oakland Pool. However, the Commissioners said they had some questions for the contractor on the project, who could not attend the meeting.

The board decided to wait until the next meeting — Thursday, Sept. 21 — when the contractor is expected to be available, so all questions about the project can be answered.

Commissioners Aaron Mays and Kevin Cook wanted to inform the public that they were invested in this project and had no intention of pushing this decision back further. Still, they wanted to know more information before approving the request.

”I do want to make just a quick statement that I think this is a project that is important to the people in Oakland,” said Cook. “They need to know that the commissioners are taking this seriously. That we are very invested in the improvement in Oakland.”

“I’ll also go on record saying I support the project. I want to see a pool built,” said Mays. “When I look at these three designs, I don’t think there is any possibility of me going with the splash pad. I think that has been a concern that we’ve been hearing over and over again. I think the pool is kind of what we are all leaning at. It is the contract, pricing, and construction schedule that we are worried about.”

After the Commissioners moved to wait on approving the Oakland Pool design, they were able to approve several more items on the agenda, including a Gage Park project.

The Shawnee Co. Parks and Recreation Department (SCP+R) requested to use $12,300 of money raised from the Gage Park Sales Tax on the initial steps necessary to launch a makeover of the Gage Park Playland. That includes a topographic survey for $5,300 and development of a master plan for $7,000.

Shawnee County Commissioners approved the parks and recreation’s request. SCP+R will begin its first stage to renovate and improve Gage Park’s Playland.

SCP+R director Tim Laurent says nothing will be added to or removed from Playland. Only when officials conduct the survey, determine what improvements can be made, request the necessary equipment from the Commissioners, and see the requests approved.

“There are two projects here essentially, to do the survey, the site analysis that would be step one,” said Laurent. “Then we will do a design for that area. That is step two, but we are not going to remove anything until we come back here and bid out new equipment.”

Last November, Shawnee Co. voters approved to pay a .2% sales tax to help pay for projects at the Topeka Zoo, the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center, and other Gage Park projects.

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