See Red Run! Dedication Celebration

Jorge Blanco’s sculpture ‘See Red Run! was dedicated in R Park on June 29, 2019. City Council member Claudia McCormack began the Dedication and Arbor Day event with this presentation:

“I would like to welcome you all here today for a celebration of many amazing things happening in R Park! I am Claudia McCormack, Ward 3 City Council Member and a proud 10 year resident of Roeland Park.  

Thank you to the Community Engagement Committee for helping put this together! And to girl scout troop 1236, a group headed into 7th grade for helping with the kids activities.

I am privileged to be among you all today!

We come together this afternoon to feel like a community, to celebrate our space, our safety and our boundless potential as a cohesive group.

First, We are here to Dedicate and Celebrate our sophisticated and bold new art work “See Red Run” commissioned exclusively for Roeland Park by the very talented and industrious Arts Committee and fulfilled by the multi-faceted, esteemed and worldly artist Jorge Blanco. This fresh and bold public art piece demonstrates the commitment and dedication of our residents to bringing quality and beauty to this park and to the city.  

I would like to thank our incredibly resourceful and civically devoted Arts Committee for their steadfast dedication to serving our community by providing diverse Public Art for people of all ages to enjoy.  

We are very excited for all of the beautiful spaces, piece by piece,  in which the true nature of Roeland Park unfolds. 

In addition to our stunning new art, we are here to celebrate our belated and beloved Arbor Day.  With the addition of our recently planted array of trees, consistent with the Arboretum standard, we can spend the coming years watching them grow, change and bloom with the diversity of aesthetic that our public art inhabits.  

William Blake once wrote:“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see Nature all ridicule and deformity, and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, Nature is imagination itself.”

Today as we enjoy our neighbors, the view, fun music, warm sunshine and refreshing beverages let us stay here in this moment, every moment present, just as the trees stand. Free from judgement, released to sway with the winds and the storms, though always strong because of deep roots. We help grow our city by sinking our Roots into our community, our families and our spirituality. During these very uncertain times it is easy to become divided from issues both small and large. It seems as if, every day there is some new way to pull us farther apart as individuals. A new app, the familiar social network, the glowing screens slowly replacing eye contact.   This Park, these events, our people coming together is the cure for those disconnections.  

I am proud to be part of a City and a City Council committed to growing our relationships through welcoming, beautiful public spaces.

Thank you all for coming to this special event and sharing with us your time, your support and your love.”

Sculpture ‘See Red Run!’ installed

Jorge Blanco’s sculpture See Red Run! was installed in May 2019.

Shade shelters in progress!

Construction is progressing on the small picnic table shelters in R Park!

Small shelters progressing!

Posts for picnic table shelters are up! Roofs will be on soon! The large pavilion is planned for 2020.

New trees to be planted in R Park

Wireless Zelkova tree

This Wireless Zelkova tree was planted by the playground to bring some shade to that area.

The City of Roeland Park is planting seven new trees in R Park for shade and biodiversity as part of a $3,000 grant it received from KCP&L. The grant is part of KCP&L’s third annual “Energizing our Environment Microgrant Program.” The grant application was written by the parks committee and the Citizens Fundraising Group that has raised money for R Park improvements over the years.

Installation of a drinking fountain

The installation of the R Park drinking fountain for people and dogs was completed in early June, 2016. This drinking fountain is a cooperative venture by The City of Roeland Park, Jan Duncan who owns Synergy Construction Company in Roeland Park and Citizens Fundraising Initiative for R Park.

The City of Roeland Park collaborated with Water One to provide the work of running the pipe under the street, tying into the service line, and installing a backflow preventer. Jan Duncan is generously donated materials and crew to dig the trench and lay the water line across R Park, construct a concrete location pad, and install the drinking fountain as his gift to the City. Citizens Fundraising Initiative for R Park, with the help of generous residents and businesses raised the money to pay for the drinking fountain itself.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this drinking fountain project to make it a reality in R Park.

Drinking fountain

Enjoy the new drinking fountain in R Park! Tell your dog friends that water is waiting for them, too!

Benches, picnic tables, trash receptacles and bicycle racks

In September, 2014, a team of five citizens was granted permission by the Parks Committee to research vendors and develop recommendations for a suite of products which included benches, picnic tables, trash receptacles and bike racks. The team interviewed parks directors from neighboring cities and landscape architects who work in the business for recommendations. The Parks Committee selected one option to move forward which was approved City Council.

Five benches were installed in October, 2015, bringing some creature comforts to the park. Citizens Fundraising Initiative for R Park purchased 18 amenities during the spring and summer of 2015, thanks to the many donations from citizens and businesses in Roeland Park. The City’s Public Works Department did the installation. The remaining five benches, three picnic tables, four trash receptacles and one bike rack were installed in the spring of 2016. A recycling bin was installed in the summer of 2016. The amenities, made of ipe wood and powder-coated steel were chosen by the Parks and Trees Committee for their durability, low maintenance, sustainability, good design and comfort. Ipe (ee-pay) is one of the most dense woods on earth as well as being resistant to bugs and rot. These handsome amenities will last 25-50 years and will weather to a pewter gray in color.

R Park bench

New signs added to R Park

R Park welcome sign

Three new signs have been added to R Park to welcome visitors as well as provide a map of the park. The main sign (pictured above) is placed close to the main parking lot. There are also signs in the northeast and southeast corners of the park.

Construction of a walking trail

In March of 2014, the Parks and Trees Committee prioritized the construction of a .46-mile walking trail through R Park. Starting in that same month, the Citizens Fundraising Initiative for R Park worked alongside City Council to coordinate a fundraising campaign, hold two fundraising events and secure a grant from the Sunflower Foundation of Kansas.

After more than eight months of hard work the construction of the trail was completed in November, 2014. The beautiful limestone trail was constructed by Synergy Construction Company at a cost of $28,600.

A ribbon cutting was held in December with Mayor Joel Marquardt and citizens of Roeland Park were able to officially walk on the new trail together.

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