Westfield to consider $9 million upgrade to park

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Public Works Dept. Director Jeremy Lollar gave a presentation to the Westfield City Council at its March 9 meeting.

Lollar said the parks department has been working on reimagining Simon Moon Park at 171st Street and Carey Road for several years. He said upgrades would enhance quality of life, a fundamental vision for the city.

In the 1970s, wastewater lagoons were constructed on the property. They were idled in 2017 when the City of Westfield conducted a cleaning process. Now that they have reopened, Lollar said the parks department plans to utilize the lagoons as part of the reimagined park.

“Today, (the park) is a restroom, shelter house, a playground and a sledding hill,” he said.

The parks department plans to turn it into a 38-acre nature preserve.

“The major additions you’ll see will be a parking expansion to the south. There are parking concerns out there during sledding season,” Lollar said. “You also will see a change in the sledding hill. It’s reoriented so (sledders) slide away from the road as opposed to in the road.  We are proposing to add an outdoor educational classroom to utilize this space for some field trips, additional programing and educational applications associated with stormwater and a nature preserve.

“There are five proposed entrances into the park, and today we only have three.”

Eventually, Lollar said the project includes adding fishing piers, a pedestrian bridge, a canoe launch, a bait/snack shop and kayak rental facility. It also would provide space for the expansion of the public works facility. The proposed upgrades are estimated to cost $9 million.

“We are at the point where it’s time to take the next steps, like the design phase, engineering and construction documentation,” Lollar said. “We can phase it in over time. As it is today, there are dollars in the approved budget allocated toward it. We can utilize that and move forward if we so desire.”

Because it was a presentation, the council did not vote on the proposal.

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