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Friday, April 16 2004

Legislators Work to Kill a State Park

The Kansans I talk to are often surprised to learn just how much hostility their legislators carry towards parklands and outdoor recreation. A perfect case in point: the sad tale of Menninger State Park.

If you haven’t heard of this park, there’s a reason - it’s not in the state system yet.

If there was ever, in the history of the state, something that should be a slam dunk, it would be this park. A closed-down hospital wants to give the state 80 acres of riverfront property, which would create the only state park in the state’s Capital City, and open up the only public access to the Kansas River inside the city limits of Topeka. So for absolutely no money down, you open up greenspace and get the public some outdoor recreation opportunities.

Budget-cutters used the cost as an excuse to reject the park, saying the state wasn’t in position to take on the expense. The cost to run the park: $200,000 a year. The budget that was just passed? $10 billion. You be the judge on that.

But before you get too mad at the Legislators for trying to kill off a park, ask this question: Where in the heck are the Topekans in this? Why hasn’t the Mayor been in the Capitol every week on this? Why aren’t Topeka voters burning up the phone lines of Speaker Doug Mays, Senator David Jackson, or Representatives Lana Gordon, or Vaughn Flora, or….? You get the idea.

+ Dan @ 12:59pm

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