What's Next For Kauffman Park?
On July 30th at Lakewood Public Library, residents met with representatives from the city of Lakewood, LakewoodAlive’s Design Committee and Kauffman Park Friends to discuss their visions for the future of Kauffman Park in an effort to develop a Master Plan. Led by Bryan Evans and Sean McDermott of LakewoodAlive, meeting attendees broke up into groups to share their concerns and hopes for downtown’s seven-acre “green space.”
As the discussions took off, it was quickly apparent that certain ideas were very popular, including improvements to the parks entrances, connection to downtown, desire for an all-purpose path/fitness loop and the need for benches and tables. Although opinions varied about other amenities, there was consensus that the park should offer something for all ages and assorted interests. Most agreed that utilizing the park for events was a good way to increase use and raise awareness. “Programming that gets people to the park is good for the neighborhood, good for downtown and good for Lakewood,” was the sentiment of one enthusiastic citizen.
Items on the wish list that got the most attention were those that would add unique components to the park, setting it apart from others and elevating it from a neighborhood park to “Lakewood’s downtown park,” a goal of the groups involved. These ideas include a “splash pad” for water play, a reading garden that takes advantage of the proximity to the library and an aerial space that would add a new dimension to the park. Councilman Tom Bullock suggested elements that would educate visitors and celebrate Lakewood’s past. An old streetcar repurposed as a kiosk and an heirloom orchard, were both well received.
Later in the evening when the groups compared notes, it was clear that Kauffman’s sledding hills, dog friendly environment, basketball/tennis courts, baseball field and community gardens were seen as positive things that should be retained, improved and highlighted in the plan.
To collect additional input, surveys were made available later in the week online through LakewoodAlive, at LEAF Night and the Lakewood Arts Festival. If you have not yet had an opportunity and are interested in sharing your thoughts and ideas about the future of Kauffman Park, please contact members of KPF soon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A follow up public meeting will be scheduled for the fall. In the meantime, the information gathered will be used to develop a Master Plan for Kauffman Park that aligns with the city’s Park System Strategic Plan. Once complete, the plan will serve as a springboard for engaging new partners and finding funding to help turn vision into reality!