Subdivision requests city grant for playground in memory of 9-year-old
The Falcon Lakes neighborhood is requesting a $15,000 grant from the city of Basehor to help build a playground in memory of a 9-year-old Basehor boy who died after an asthma attack in 2009.
Since Basehor Elementary School third-grader Jared McDonnell died more than two years ago, the subdivision's homeowners association has raised money for a playground in his name, through an annual memorial golf tournament and other fundraisers, Jared's mother Jeri McDonnell said at the Basehor City Council's work session Monday night.
Now the homeowners association has requested a $15,000 matching-funds grant from the city to help pay for the cost. The city's 2011 budget allows for up to two $15,000 matching grants for community playgrounds out of its Special Parks and Recreation Fund.
At Monday's meeting, Jeri McDonnell said the grant would allow the neighborhood to make the memorial park a reality.
“We couldn't do it without you folks,” McDonnell said.
The homeowners association so far has spent about $38,000 on equipment and other costs for the playground. McDonnell said after the meeting that the three golf tournament fundraisers held in Jared's memory had raised about $26,500.
“It's phenomenal how many people have rallied to get this park put together,” McDonnell said.
The playground is planned for a park area near the subdivision's swimming pool, along Falcon Lakes Drive.
Council member Fred Box said the playground, which would be open to the general public, would be an asset for the entire city.
“To me, it's a no-brainer,” Box said.
Members Dennis Mertz and David Breuer said they would support the project, as well.
Council member Iris Dysart asked that the group prepare a formal application for the grant, outlining the project's costs and other details, before bringing the issue before the council at its regular meeting Nov. 21. Mayor Terry Hill said he supported that requirement, as it would set a precedent for other neighborhoods that might request playground grants in the future.
“It may very well encourage some other additions to ask for matching funds, and we'll see where that goes,” Hill said.
Also at the city council work session Monday:
• Despite calling a special council meeting to approve a tax incentive agreement for the proposed Orscheln Farm and Home store to be located in the former Wolf Creek Marketplace building, the council took no action on the item Monday.
Police chief and interim city administrator Lloyd Martley said the agreement was not yet ready to approve, as it needed to be adjusted to reflect the legal requirement that Orscheln would receive a property tax rebate, rather than an upfront abatement. The agreement would give the store a 95 percent discount on property taxes through 2019.
• The council discussed an operating agreement with Basehor PRIDE for the group's proposed community garden at Basehor City Park, as well as proposed electrical upgrades at the city park.