The wheels are turning in downtown Mulvane, with a proposal for a Downtown Park being fleshed out by the city council over the past seven months.
From the start of plan development in July 2019, the site (at a vacant lot southwest of the intersection of Main and Prather streets) was toured and preliminary concepts were drawn by Foster Design Associates LLC – featuring a splash pad as the main attraction.
Designs were finalized at the end of 2019 and, as of February, Foster Design is now seeking quotes for the project on behalf of the city – something City Administrator Kent Hixson expects the council to have for review within a couple of months.
Currently, while Hixson expects work on the Downtown Park will start before the end of the year, there is no target opening date. That is partly because there are a number of other infrastructure projects the city has to prioritize before moving forward with the Downtown Park.
“It’s no hurry to get it done. We want to do it well, but we’re not going to sacrifice some other critical infrastructure needs – drainage, some different things that would impact people’s property – over this park,” Hixson said. “We can probably do this in phases. Even though it’s not a very big park in the downtown area, it’s going to be expensive by the time you put a splash pad feature in it and the recycling of the water.”
Phasing would start with the splash pad area being installed first (with additional seating, shade structures and a fire feature for the winter months also included as part of that project), with the option to expand those park features nearby in the future.
Admittedly, Hixson said, Derby’s Madison Avenue Central Park splash pad provided some inspiration for the idea behind the Downtown Park. In terms of the big picture, though, the goal is to make that location more of a central hub for all Mulvane residents.
“The vision is, that vacant lot on the corner, it’s not cost-effective to build a new building there – and it’s not very big – but we felt with the water feature in the summer, maybe a fire feature in the winter and then just a general park area we’ll enhance the downtown area, sort of make it look nicer. It’ll bring people to the downtown area more often,” Hixson said. “That’s the sort of thing that we hope to achieve with our park down there – to bring people to the downtown area more often, get them to stay longer. If they stay longer, they’ll walk across the street to the Lil’ Deuce Scoop ice cream parlor or they might walk down the street to Luciano’s and Empire Tacos.”
Funding for the Downtown Park will need to be set aside through the city’s capital improvement plan, which is part of why there is no rush. The city wants to have a firm plan in place before it starts moving forward with that project.
Outside of park features, Hixson noted street enhancements are also part of the project plans to enhance safety in the area to make it that much more attractive in the future. While it may be a while before completion yet, he said he believes it will be worth it.
“In the end,” Hixson said, “I think three, four years from now it will be a place that the whole family can enjoy and that it’ll really enhance the downtown area and continue on with our commitment to maintain our downtown area to make it a desirable place to be.”