Through a grant from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation, the Lincoln County Economic Development Foundation was able to hire a summer intern to explore the idea of creating walking trails and a splash pad in Sylvan Grove.
Mason Herrman, a Regional & Community Planning student at Kansas State University, gathered public input at the Hometown Cafe. Below is a summary of the ideas that includes a walking trail loop encircling the high school, making use of the already in place windbreak treeline and connecting to sidewalks to the city park and also a splash pad near the city park.
The Live Healthy Lincoln County (LHLC) coalition formed in 2015 with the mission to proactively work towards improving the overall health of county residents. In 2016, the LHLC hired RDG Planning & Design of Omaha, Nebraska, to gather broad based public input, identify healthy living needs, and priorities, to develop an overall strategic plan for the county. Through this public input and planning process, the top priority was determined to be creating connectivity within each specific community, while also creating more opportunities for walking. With this goal in mind, the idea for a walking trail in Sylvan Grove began to take root. The concept of a splash pad surfaced thereafter.
Stakeholders were able to provide public input during the City Council’s meeting and the USD 299 School Board’s meeting on June 12th, 2017. Stakeholders were also able to provide public input during a public input session at the Hometown Cafe on June 15th, 2017 and through an online survey. From these discussions, two primary concepts emerged: four walking trail loops and a splash pad. For both of these concepts, needs and challenges were identified: connectivity, materials used on the trail, amenities, accessibility, funding, property lines, and cost.
This conceptual plan displays one of the four walking trail loops and the splash pad concepts that emerged from public input.
- High School Loop
The High School Loop was the most popular loop choice; if the walking trail were to be phased in, some felt this would be the most logical choice to start. High school students, cross country runners, and physical education classes could use this trail daily. This loop encircles the high school within the windbreak’s treeline. To create a more interesting loop, the path can have curves (instead of just straight sections) with added landscaping, benches for seating, and lighting.
- Other Loops – Other trail loops that can be created include a path around the city park and to the downtown, around the fairgrounds and ballfields, and one utilizing the city-owned former railroad property extending west out of town. If this trail were combined with the road extending to the west, a connection to the metal-truss bridge over the Saline River could be created.
The splash pad has been a popular concept in Sylvan Grove for quite some time with the concept frequently discussed during the public input process. Currently, there isn’t a splash pad in Lincoln County with the nearest ones residents visit in Salina and Wilson. Splash pads can be expensive; however, the benefits may outweigh the costs.
1. To mitigate cost, a flow-through system could be utilized. This system does not utilize chemicals found in swimming pools. Thus, the need to conduct training on chemical usage, hire staff, or buy chemicals does not exist, thereby reducing overhead and upfront costs. The downside is that this system utilizes the most amount of water.
2. To mitigate water usage, a recirculating system could be utilized. This system sets a cap on water usage and thus uses much less amounts of water than a flow-through system. However, costs would be higher with this system due to the chemicals that would be used, much the same as a swimming pool.
The full conceptual plans are listed below.