Wichita Leaders Looking For O.J. Watson Park Visionaries

By: Lily Wu - Email
By: Lily Wu - Email

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Wichita Park Board of Commissioners is looking for people in the community to help with a master plan for O.J. Watson Park, near Pawnee and McClean.

An 11-member steering committee will be formed to assist with the development of a master plan to determine how the park can best serve the community.

"The committee's going to help us decide: Do we want to keep a park with a train? Do we want the train to continue what it's doing? Do we want something different?" said Brian Hill, supervisor. "Just the entire vision of Watson Park."

One of the park's main attractions, the 30-year-old miniature train, is much need of improvements. Currently, the train can only take two carts and many of the parts are difficult to replace. Replacing the train would cost between $100,000 to $200,000.

Last year, more than 200,000 people visited O.J. Watson Park but it costs about $300,000 to operate and only $150,000 to $175,000 is collected in revenues.

"Little over 50-percent cost recovery for the expenses we have out there. It's a quality of life thing. How much is the value of having that type of park available to our citizens?" asks Doug Kupper, Wichita Park and Recreation Director.

People interested in helping shape the future of the park should apply by Oct. 31. You can find the application by clicking here.

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