WESTWOOD, Kan. — In one Johnson County city, a public park might turn into an office park.
The City of Westwood, home to 1,900 people, is considering a plan to re-zone and redevelop a popular park in a residential area. Neighbors complain it’s a bad idea.
“I think it’s more than just a proposal,” Mike Coffman, who is opposed to the plan, said.
Coffman and his loved ones have lived near the park, just across Rainbow Boulevard in Westwood Hills, for more than four decades.
Coffman and others opposed to redevelopment are collecting signatures against plans from metro builder Karbank. The firm’s plans are posted on the City of Westwood’s website. They include three-to-four buildings worth of office space, as well as parking area for more than 300 cars.
“If you look at the advertisements and bulletins they’ve put out, it’s already referred to as the Karbank site,” Coffman said on Thursday.
Neighbors say they value the park. They don’t want more traffic along Rainbow either. Ellen Marsee has lived close to the park for decades, too. Marsee said the school that sits nearby already attracts enough traffic, and she’s concerned about kids’ safety.
“I play tennis at the tennis courts. That will disappear. The little fountain — all of that will be gone for ugly buildings that don’t fit into our community,” Marsee said.
The plans also include a new, modern park that would sit nearby the proposed buildings. Westwood Mayor David Waters said his residents have been asking for modern amenities, and this plan is still coming together. The mayor said the park included in the proposal would more than double the park space for neighbors to use.
“There’s nothing about a project that doesn’t have issues that need to be considered. We want to work through those. We want to hear those concerns,” Waters told FOX4.
Neighbors also said the proposed buildings are ugly, too tall and they don’t fit the current design of the neighborhood. The public will voice its opinion to a city council planning committee meeting next Sept. 11.
Waters said no final decision is expected that evening, but the information shared will help city leaders decide.