Commission goals include reuse of old USP, splash park

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

Exploring a splash park and more trails and re-establishing a sidewalk program are among the goals Leavenworth city commissioners have approved for the next year.

The goals are found in a 2021-2022 goals document adopted by commissioners last month.

The document includes many goals that previously were adopted by commissioners. But some goals were modified this year and others were added.

The document was prepared after commissioners met in April for an annual goal-setting session. The 2021-2022 goals document was adopted May 11.

One of the goals that was modified this year concerned advocating for a new federal prison in the city.

“We have achieved that,” City Manager Paul Kramer told commissioners last month.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons has announced plans to build a Federal Correctional Institution and Federal Prison Camp on the grounds of the U.S. Penitentiary in Leavenworth. The new FCI would replace the existing penitentiary.

Kramer noted construction of the new prison has not yet started, but the BOP plans to break ground this year.

Commissioners modified their earlier goal, stating city officials now plan to lobby and advocate for the completion of the project as well as the renovation and reuse of the existing facilities on the USP grounds.

Kramer said he has heard ideas for the reuse of the old USP including a visitors center, prison museum and training facility. Kramer said city officials will work with the city’s delegation in Congress to push for an active reuse of the old prison.

Commissioners also modified an earlier goal concerning a comprehensive plan for the city. The plan, known as “Leavenworth 2030: First City, Future Forward,” has been completed.

Commissioners modified their earlier goal, stating city officials will now look for ways to integrate aspects of the plan into action items.

As part of the process to create the comprehensive plan, members of the public provided feedback about increasing trail options in the city.

Commissioners have added a goal to explore expanded trail offerings. They also want to explore creating a splash park.

Kramer described a splash park as dry surface area with fountains or other water features that can spray water on people during the summer.

He said the splash park could be activated by families visiting the park but operate on a timer so it would shut off when not in use.

Commissioners also added a goal for re-establishing an annual sidewalk program to pursue more walkable routes in the city.

Kramer said the city’s sidewalk budget was cut in half in order to provide more funding for streets. But he said the city still sets aside about $192,000 per year for sidewalk projects.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR