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City wants input on Kennedy Park improvements

Posted at 9:58 PM, Mar 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-11 07:21:59-05
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Tucson city leaders are seeking input from the community about what improvements they would like to see at Kennedy Park.
 
John F. Kennedy Park sits at 3700 S. Mission and spans 172 acres. It includes an urban fishing pond, basketball and tennis courts, and other sports fields. However, the swimming pool has been closed since 2014, and the playground was built about 18 years ago. 
 
While the city of Tucson doesn't have the money to make major improvements now, council member Regina Romero says they want to be ready when the money is available. 
 
"We have to have an organized plan that we can show to funders and say we have a plan," Romero said. "We're ready, we're prepared. Just give us the money and we'll do it."
 
The Parks and Recreation Department is developing the Kennedy Park Master Plan, which will serve as a blueprint for what people want to see at the park. Romero says 
 
At a public meeting Thursday night, Vera Gallego says there are many things that can be done for little league. 
Gallego has been involved with Tucson Mountain Little League for 15 years. After her daughter played, she 
joined the board so she could help make things better for the kids. 
 
"The parking, the fields, the fences, the bathrooms," Gallego said. "There are so many improvements that are required there."
 
About 4,500 players are in the league, and Gallego says they use the Kennedy Park fields every day. Some of the major issues include parking, the roads into the park, and the lack of bathrooms. Often the fields can't accommodate such large crowds, she said.
 
Romero also agrees that they should make the baseball fields should be tournament worthy.
 
Along with Gallego, only handful of people showed up to the meeting. As Deanna Lewis pointed out many of the work for different city departments. Lewis says maybe surveys should be done at the park so it's easier for the people that use it to weigh in.
 
As a physicians assistant, all too often Lewis sees the effects of obesity and calls our parks an incredible resource. She doesn't live near Kennedy Park but is a big advocate for our parks.
 
"You have social connections, and that's really important," Lewis said. "Tucson is really unique. I've been here for 36 years and it's probably one of the most unique places I've ever lived in."
 
The city has also posted a link to a survey online
 
Romero says they are in the very early stages of planning, and the process could take years. She says once a master plan is completed the park may be eligible for other types of grants and funding.