Take a first look at plans for $10 million family park

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – KSNT News got an up-close look at the new $10 million dollar family park that was approved at Monday’s commission meeting.

The family park will go up right next to the Midwest Health Aquatic Center at 21st and Urish in Southwest Topeka.

The commissioners voted 2-1 to borrow $10 million to finance the project proposed by commissioner Bob Archer.

Commissioner Bob Archer calls this area a Parks and Recreation Desert.

The space has 60 acres of unused land owned by county taxpayers.

Now Archer’s ready to make the most of it.

“We need a meeting space that people can socialize get to know each other, we need playground equipment for kids and families, we need family fitness trails, let’s face it, we need better physical activity,” Archer said.

The county will also add picnic tables and 20 pickleball courts.

The county chambers were filled with pickle ballplayers and enthusiasts on Monday morning.

“That’s another thing, I live East of Lake Shawnee, and yeah I would love to see pickleball courts there, but you know I go to the mall and shop all the time,” one pickleball player said. “It’s a mile from the mall where you would put this. I will be there multiple times a week.”

But the project didn’t come without controversy. Commissioner Cook spoke out against the project.

“We have not had a timeline for our construction,” Cook said, reacting to comments by Archer that it takes just two votes to pass this multi-million dollar project, despite public backlash. “We don’t know what our total costs are going to be. We don’t know what it’s going to offer.”

The county owns the Midwest Health Aquatic Center. It has some of the tallest water slides in the country for a community pool, according to Commissioner Archer.

Archer hopes work can start by the end of the year.

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