new citizen driven non-profit organization has begun to assist the Platte County Parks and Recreation Department.
This group of volunteers, The Friends of Platte County Parks and Recreation, attended the Platte County Commission’s regular meeting Thursday to announce the group’s creation.
“We’re a brand new group and a work in progress,” said president Margie Maasen. “We would like to gain some feedback from the commissioners. We have already made crucial partners in the community that we’re building relationships with. We have seen great cooperation from everyone so far.”
The group was created to raise awareness and promote the development of Platte County parks and trail systems. Their goals include planning fun events, distributing news about the parks system, and involving citizens in recreation and volunteer opportunities. They plan to connect with local communities and organizations to advocate strong parks and further the county’s recreational amenities.
The organization already has nine partnerships with Platte County, including Platte Ridge Park in Platte City and the Southern Platte Pass Trail in Parkville. Nineteen cities have become partners so far, including Weston, Platte Woods, Farley, and Kansas City. Their State and Federal partners include eight areas, such as Weston Bend State Park and Platte Falls Wildlife area. There are startup fees for this new organization amounting to $1,500. When raised, this money will pay for printing their newsletters and announcements and hosting activities.
The Friends organization has already set a date for their first “Picnic in the Park” event being held Saturday, May 12 from 11 to 2 p.m. at English Landing Park in Parkville. Free food and music will be provided at this event co-sponsored by the City of Parkville.
The parks and recreation department will unveil their plans for the new Missouri River Trail to be located alongside the Missouri River.
“I was on the parks board when voters passed the sales tax in 2000,” said Maasen. “That was a huge help for us because at that time we only had one park that people seemed to know about. There are a lot of amenities available and we want people to know what’s out there so they can use it. We’re trying to keep the momentum going and keep residents involved in the local parks system.”
Residents can become a Friend of the Platte County Parks and Recreation organization at no cost where they will receive information and invitations to join the sponsored events. A website is currently being constructed at www.friendsofplattecountyparks.org. There are several ways for residents to become involved including event support, public relations, and fundraising.
The organizations board of directors has been chosen. Laurie Burgess, is vice president; Neil Davidson, treasurer; and Brian Nowotny, secretary. The group’s next task will be writing the organization’s by-laws.
Presiding commissioner Betty Knight said she looks forward to working with the new organization to better the parks system.
“We do a better job of serving the public because of volunteers like you. Thank you for working to develop this new program,” Knight said.