The Webster County Board of Supervisors heard and approved long-range plans for the future of John F. Kennedy Memorial Park during their regular meeting Tuesday morning.
Matt Cosgrove, Webster County Conservation director, presented the master plan, designed by RDG Planning & Design, of Des Moines, which includes possible changes and upgrades to the park that could take place over the next 50 years.
"There haven't been any major park changes since the park was developed in the '60s," said Cosgrove. "We have aging infrastructure and are looking at making some infrastructure changes. We'll have our 50th anniversary of the park in 2015."
A park user survey determined that around 54 percent of the park's land is used for recreational purposes, Cosgrove said.
The plan would include five major project areas and zones including the development of a nature exploratory area, improved boat ramp accessibility, playground upgrades, the butterfly garden, and campground improvements.
Boat ramp improvements could potentially include better accessibility for kayaks and canoes, a boardwalk-style dock and observation point. The area would also include a new shelter with handicap accessible restrooms.
"Right now our boat ramp area is not very accessible," said Cosgrove. "We would want add more accessible facilities."
A natural playscape area could also be an addition to the park in future years, as well as more native and prairie grasses in less utilized areas of the park.
"We're calling for a 15 percent decrease in mowing," said Cosgrove. "We could add the playscape and prairie grass as a way to reduce areas that we would otherwise have to mow."
The addition of a new shelter and restrooms at the Veterans Memorial Park on the northwest corner of the park could also be on the horizon, along with increased parking space.
"The next step would be to have the Conservation Board set priorities and have our staff identify some funding sources," said Cosgrove. "This is a long-range plan; obviously some of these things are projects that may not necessarily happen, but we hope this is a plan to take us into the next 50 years."