Trail fix: Parks and Rec ‘Trail Talk’ meetings encourage community input

Cico Park, located at Kimball & Wreath Avenue, is a 97-acre park featuring several amenities including a swimming pool, a running track, a dog park and a baseball complex. (Madison Jahnke | Collegian Media Group)

Tomorrow marks the first of five opportunities for Manhattan residents to give their ideas on what will be ongoing improvements to revive the city’s trails in the face of a $2 million budget set aside for that purpose.

The $2 million is a percentage of the $27.5 million the city will take in over a 10-year period from the new recreation and trails sales tax that took effect April 1.

“We’re going out to the community and seeing what they want in their trails,” said Melissa Kirkwood, Parks and Recreation community relations officer. “We’re trying to improve connectivity, make trails longer and better for people. But we want to hear from them, so we we’re going to be having neighborhood meetings all through July and August.”

The first of these Trail Talk Thursday meetings is tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. at the Manhattan Fire Department. It will cover trails surrounding the neighborhoods of Anthony Middle School, the K-State campus and its neighborhoods and Bluemont Hill.

Chuck Klutho, intern for Parks and Recreation who works with city trails, said anyone who is interested in improving current trails and discussing new trails around the neighborhoods specified on each event is welcome, not just residents of those areas

The trail updates, two new recreation centers near Eisenhower and Anthony middle schools and improvements to CiCo Park will be paid for by the quarter-cent sales tax approved by 60 percent of Manhattan voters in November.

Manhattan shoppers have not seen a change to the 8.95 percent citywide sales tax rate, however, because it replaced an old “quality of life” sales tax that cost the same.

“I am pleased that residents of Manhattan voted to support this local initiative to continue to improve the quality of recreation and trails in our community,” Mayor Linda Morse said in a Parks and Recreation media release. “These additional dollars will improve the much-needed space we need for recreation, increase playability for our outdoor recreation and improve our trails system in the community.”

Parks and Recreation’s projected timeline marks 2018 as a design period for the two recreation centers at the middle schools. The Eisenhower recreation center is set to be constructed in 2019 and the Anthony recreation center will go up in 2020. CiCo Park renovations are projected to be designed in 2024 and be completed by 2025, nearing the end of the decade of the recreation and sales tax.

The following Trail Talk Thursdays will be held at different locations around town on July 19, Aug. 2, 9 and 16.

Organizers ask that those interested RSVP on the Facebook event.