Ad Hoc Civic Center* Committee Members:
- Chair – Ian Graves
- Vice-Chair – me (Bonnie)
- City Council Member – Dave Robinson
- Community Member – Jamie Senter
- Community Member – Randy Knight
- Community Member – Melissa Brown (not in attendance)
- Community Member – Lauren Ozburn
- Parks & Recreation Director – Keith Bredehoeft
- Finance Director – Nickie Lee
- Deputy City Administrator – Jamie Robichaud
- City Administrator – Wes Jordan
- Mayor Eric Mikkelson
No binding action will be taken from this committee. If there is a building option (rec/community center structure) considered, the intent is that that option will go to the voters at the ballot box as well as be voted on by the full City Council. These meetings are, and will remain, open to the public at all times. Meeting times and locations will be posted around 3 business days before, but I will do my best to alert you earlier as soon as I can.
Update from the Y
Mark Hulet recapped the YMCA community meeting held on May 12 at Meadowbrook Park Clubhouse. The meeting was attended by 178 attendees, the majority of whom were Prairie Village residents and Y members. Following the meeting, an informal survey was sent out and returned by 84 attendees. Of those respondents, 52 were PV residents. Of those PV residents, 81% of them said they supported a partnership between the City and the Y. (This is an example of a NON-statistically valid survey, as opposed to our full 2019 survey.)
A big question that came out was “What is the vision?” But we need an organic community following first before we get into planning what the building looks like and what it contains.
An ad hoc committee member who wasn’t able to make it to the Meadowbrook Park meeting asked about the many other types of services the Y provides. Of course, essential child care and community service programs are among those. Non-traditional health and wellness is also a service they provide: chronic disease management, cancer survivorship, etc. (see my post and their website for others).
Request from the Y
Mr. Hulet would like the committee to consider formalizing the City’s and the Y’s collaboration through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Chair Graves responded that this discussion has gained traction in the community that might lead to future partnerships with Johnson County or others, and any agreement would need to remain flexible.
I asked Mr. Hulet about existing partnerships or overlap between Johnson County Parks and Recreation and the Y. Mr. Hulet responded that more research may have to be done in that area, but they are already researching areas where they can sync in Olathe, too, so that research could help inform this conversation as well.
Mr. Knight highlighted the County’s (through JCPRD) children’s services department, after care programs, and 50+ programs at Meadowbrook Park clubhouse as well as the importance of complimentary rather than competitive services. JCPRD also facilitates swim programs at Harmon Park Pool Complex, and we want to maintain that relationship.
The need for meeting space by our community has NOT been completely fulfilled with the opening of the Meadowbrook Park clubhouse though. We still can’t meet the demand – especially in lower price points.
Wes Jordan, City Administrator, has been in contact with JCPRD, and we could have them come to us to talk about where they stand.
Staff would also like to have the approval to circle back around to SMSD as they have new leadership on their board. In 2019 the Lenexa location had just opened, and they weren’t interested, but that was 3 years ago, and it makes sense to give them another opportunity. Their pool at Shawnee Mission East is AT LEAST 36 years old and was already antiquated and small then. Wes shared that the District still does not have enough indoor swim space for student swimmers in our NEJC area (so they don’t have to drive clear to Lenexa). It also may not make sense that we have all these pools in the Civic Center boundary and we’re all trying to maintain them (SME, PV, and the Y).
Someone asked about the Library and when do we bring them back in? The answer was that the Library is still part of the equation, but they are on a much longer timeline for the Corinth rebuild. It could be that we plan this like Merriam did where they just “reserved” a plot of land for the Library’s future build. The JoCo Library has a newly announced incoming Executive Director, Tricia Suellentrop, as of last week. We would like to have a conversation with Tricia soon.
Chair Graves moved to direct staff to do due diligence and explore an MOU with the Y and other potential partners, such as the County and School District, to bring forward to City Council for consideration. I seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
Chair Graves stated the purpose of an updated survey is to authenticate the results of the 2019 survey in a post-COVID environment to gauge community interest prior to investing a significant amount of staff time on this project. Wes stated that Wiese Group (the survey consultant) recommended an almost exact duplicate of the survey, minus the questions regarding the Johnson County Library. While the library is still a potential partner, they have a different timeline and funding source, which makes the survey results less relevant to them. He outlined various costs and proposals provided by Wiese.
The revised survey will again be statistically valid. Making the questions substantially identical ensures that we have a baseline of responses to compare to. Also, the same zip codes will be used. We will also ask Wiese to add a comment to the beginning of survey about the library’s absence from this survey (but that they are still a possible partner in the project).
I said that the lowest cost option would be my preference of the options to simply understand if the community pulse has shifted or not. Mr. Hulet stated that if the survey is approved expediently, survey results could be expected back in late August or early September. Mayor Mikkelson asked Mr. Hulet if the Y would be a financial partner in the survey. Mr. Hulet stated that the Y would be willing to share the costs of the survey should an MOU be put in place, though no percentage split was discussed at the time.
Chair Graves moved to recommend staff present a proposal to the City Council for a survey study at the $27,500 level, as well as the proposed cost (somewhere between $3500-5000.00) for postcard campaign again, like in 2019, so that all PV residents have the opportunity to respond. I seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
Chair Graves stated he continues to hear from residents that a community center concept is something that they desire to see in the City (as do I). He shared his hope to see vibrant community spaces continue to have a place in Prairie Village. Paraphrasing Ian: “The civic center committee was formed to determine what the city residents want/need, and we are going to do what we believe is the right thing for PV based on that information to contribute to our “village”.“
Of note: the “gems” of PV (mainly our retail centers) are private property, not city-owned, and we don’t have much space of our own to use and facilitate as our own. A community center space would open up more possibilities for that year-round.
Chair Graves asked Wes what steps needed to be taken prior to another committee meeting. Wes recommended that the committee outline next steps should the survey results return positive results, including concept design, establishing a proposed budget, and public input, and that the staff could work on that.
Back in 2019, community input and concept design was about to be our next step. Wes has since talked with other city’s about their successes, and those cities recommend not to get into specifics of “this is the exact size of the pool, sauna, etc.”, i.e. the amenities, because it really gets the community in the weeds and off schedule. They were much more successful when they didn’t get down into very deep details. This guards against the perception of a bait-and-switch when/if VE (value engineering/cost reduction) has to happen down the line or during construction. It helps retain the good will of the community.
Ms. Ozburn stated that she’d like to see as much transparency as possible so as to be informative to the residents and be helpful towards building good will. To that end, she’d like to see the committee begin to prepare a community engagement plan, pending the survey results. Chair Graves stated that the committee could plan next steps based on various potential outcomes of the survey. Wes suggested a meeting at some point following the June 20th City Council meeting (where Council will entertain the MOU referenced above) to allow staff time to work through said MOU and survey proposals.
This meeting was attended by several community members interested in this discussion. It was somewhat short after the thorough overview and re-kickoff of the “civic center” and/or “rec/community center” discussions at our last committee meeting, and we were able to give staff approval to move forward with research to bring our recommendations to the full City Council.
We look forward to our next meeting sometime in late June. If you have any constructive comments, ideas, or questions, please email me and Ian both at our council emails: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com respectively.
Can’t wait to hear from you! 😁