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50 years forward

Cosgrove shares plans for John F. Kennedy Park’s future Thursday

November 9, 2012
Messenger News

By HANS MADSEN

hmadsen@

messengernews.net

Article Photos

Webster County Conservation director Matt Cosgrove speaks Thursday night during the Friends of Webster County Conservation Banquet in the Bob Heun Shelter. Cosgrove unveiled the new Kennedy Park Master Plan during the meeting.

John F. Kennedy Memorial Park will be 50 years old in 2015.

Matt Cosgrove, Webster County Conservation director, told members of the Friends of Webster County Conservation that might mean it's getting a little rough around the edges.

"Things start breaking down," he said.

Fact Box

By HANS MADSEN

hmadsen@

messengernews.net

John F. Kennedy Memorial Park will be 50 years old in 2015.

Matt Cosgrove, Webster County Conservation director, told members of the Friends of Webster County Conservation that might mean it's getting a little rough around the edges.

"Things start breaking down," he said.

While that might be the bad news, Cosgrove brought good news to share with the group, which gathered for their annual banquet in the Bob Heun Shelter Thursday.

He unveiled the new Kennedy Park Master Plan - a set of goals and projects to take the park through the next 50 years.

He said they began with a user survey that revealed what the public would like to see from the park.

"No. 1 was to improve and expand the trail system; second, expand our environmental programs and improve concessions," he said.

"We want to enhance our prairie, our woodlands and our wildlife habitat," he said.

One of the components to that is decreasing the amount of mowed area in the park by 50 percent. He said that by doing so, park staff can devote more resources to controlling invasive species and that some of those areas can be converted to prairie.

One of the big segments in the plan is the creation of a Nature Exploration Area. This would be located in the northeast corner of the park along where the current dog training and RC Airplane runway are located.

"It would have mazes, prairie and a means to get to the lake," he said, "It would a gateway to the rest of the park."

In addition, he showed plans for a major overhaul of the boat launch area. It currently has a fishing dock, shelter and separate restrooms.

The plan calls for a handicap accessible fishing dock, shelter and restrooms along with a beach-type area that would give paddlers a better way to launch their craft.

"We need a much friendlier area for the small craft," he said.

Discovery Point, an area located north of the campground, would also be improved. He said that this is one area where mowed areas would be converted to prairie and existing playground areas would be replaced by a playscape area that uses natural materials and would even have a shallow wading pond.

"Kids prefer the rocks," he said, "In other areas the playscape area gets used three to one."

In addition, the area would get a lookout tower to climb for a view over the lake.

Cosgrove praised the Noon Sertoma Veterans Memorial Park work.

"They've done an excellent job," he said, "It far exceeds our expectations."

For that section of the park, the 50-year plan includes an improved shelter, a loop trail with public art and an improved entrance.

The campground at the park is currently undergoing work, he said - crews are removing some trees to offer a better view of the lake and are cutting in a trail.

The plan includes moving the amphitheater across the lake and building additional cabins as well.

When things are built or replaced, it will be with "structures and facilities that look like park structures," he said. "It will help give it a constant look and feel."

Another project in the long-term plan will include a trail that makes a look around the lake.

While many of the things on the list might not be done for decades, Cosgrove is still happy to have the vision.

"We have a plan instead of a shotgun approach," he said. "This is a road map for the next 50 years."

He also urged the public to help get involved with the Friends of Webster County Conservation group, which needs volunteers for programs such as the Stewardship Program which meets once a month and works on projects. They are also seeking volunteers to serve on their board.

While that might be the bad news, Cosgrove brought good news to share with the group, which gathered for their annual banquet in the Bob Heun Shelter Thursday.

He unveiled the new Kennedy Park Master Plan - a set of goals and projects to take the park through the next 50 years.

He said they began with a user survey that revealed what the public would like to see from the park.

"No. 1 was to improve and expand the trail system; second, expand our environmental programs and improve concessions," he said.

"We want to enhance our prairie, our woodlands and our wildlife habitat," he said.

One of the components to that is decreasing the amount of mowed area in the park by 50 percent. He said that by doing so, park staff can devote more resources to controlling invasive species and that some of those areas can be converted to prairie.

One of the big segments in the plan is the creation of a Nature Exploration Area. This would be located in the northeast corner of the park along where the current dog training and RC Airplane runway are located.

"It would have mazes, prairie and a means to get to the lake," he said, "It would a gateway to the rest of the park."

In addition, he showed plans for a major overhaul of the boat launch area. It currently has a fishing dock, shelter and separate restrooms.

The plan calls for a handicap accessible fishing dock, shelter and restrooms along with a beach-type area that would give paddlers a better way to launch their craft.

"We need a much friendlier area for the small craft," he said.

Discovery Point, an area located north of the campground, would also be improved. He said that this is one area where mowed areas would be converted to prairie and existing playground areas would be replaced by a playscape area that uses natural materials and would even have a shallow wading pond.

"Kids prefer the rocks," he said, "In other areas the playscape area gets used three to one."

In addition, the area would get a lookout tower to climb for a view over the lake.

Cosgrove praised the Noon Sertoma Veterans Memorial Park work.

"They've done an excellent job," he said, "It far exceeds our expectations."

For that section of the park, the 50-year plan includes an improved shelter, a loop trail with public art and an improved entrance.

The campground at the park is currently undergoing work, he said - crews are removing some trees to offer a better view of the lake and are cutting in a trail.

The plan includes moving the amphitheater across the lake and building additional cabins as well.

When things are built or replaced, it will be with "structures and facilities that look like park structures," he said. "It will help give it a constant look and feel."

Another project in the long-term plan will include a trail that makes a look around the lake.

While many of the things on the list might not be done for decades, Cosgrove is still happy to have the vision.

"We have a plan instead of a shotgun approach," he said. "This is a road map for the next 50 years."

He also urged the public to help get involved with the Friends of Webster County Conservation group, which needs volunteers for programs such as the Stewardship Program which meets once a month and works on projects. They are also seeking volunteers to serve on their board.

 
 

 

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