LASN is a photographically oriented, professional journal featuring topics of concern and state-of-the-art projects designed or influenced by registered Landscape Architects.
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Continued on page 22 18 Landscape Architect and Specifier News The new Karnes Playground in Roanoke Park, Kansas City, Mo., had its grand opening in April 2016. Erica Flad, PLA, LEED Green Associate, of the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department, and Heather Runkel, PLA, ASLA, formerly of the same department but now with Denver Parks and Recreation, were the landscape architects for the project. One of the goals was to make the playground fit well within the natural surroundings, according to Tim McNamara, CPSI, co-owner of ABCreative. The landscape architects worked closely with this company to identify play structures and equipment that would meet the needs of the Parks Department and the ideas of the neighbors, Flad said. The firm coordinated the purchasing and installation of the play equipment. For years, Roanoke Park in Kansas City, Mo., was little used and sat in a state of disrepair. But starting in about 2010, it slowly underwent a change, and today it looks nothing like what it did before. Roanoke Park is located in midtown Kansas City and is just minutes from downtown. In recent years, more and more families have been moving to the midtown area from the suburbs to raise their children. The landscape architects for the playground project were Erica Flad, PLA, LEED, green associate, and senior landscape architect with the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department; and Heather Runkel, PLA, ASLA, formerly in the same department. Runkel now works for Denver Parks and Recreation. "The neighborhoods surrounding Roanoke Park — Coleman Heights, Volker, Roanoke and Valentine — have seen an influx of families," Flad said. Roanoke Park had been the victim of deferred maintenance due to tight city budgets. Then the neighbors rallied to "take back the park," Runkel said, and that's when the revitalization work for the 37-acre green space began. They formed the Roanoke Park Conservancy, and the partnership between this group and the Parks Department was significant because it transformed the park into a popular public space, Flad said. The partnership also helped achieve the neighborhood's long-term vision, especially the new Karnes Playground. A master plan was developed to guide the park improvements, and to also build upon the positive momentum from the volunteers. The Parks Department project manager met frequently with representatives from the Karnes Playground, Roanoke Park PHOTO CREDIT: ABCREATIVE p l a y g ro u n d By Michael Miyamoto, LASN