Jun 12

[ARCHIVED] Thompson receives Partner of Excellence Award

The original item was published from June 12, 2018 10:28 AM to June 19, 2018 10:30 AM

Manhattan, Kansas, May 7,  2018

Wyatt Thompson, PLA, ASLA, CPSI, Assistant Director for Manhattan Parks and Recreation has received the Partnership in Excellence award from the National Parks Service. The award recognizes excellent partnership and dedication in developing a master plan for Manhattan's newest park, the Park at Lee Mill Heights. 

The Park is a 93-acre open space park located in the southwest quadrant of Manhattan. The park was acquired through a combination of land purchase and a donation from Schultz Real Estate Development, owned by Tim and Angie Shultz of Manhattan. 

The development of the master plan was led by Manhattan Parks and Recreation with assistance from the National Park Service. Manhattan Parks and Recreation was awarded a technical assistance grant in 2016 through the National Parks Service Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program (RTCA). The RTCA program provides assistance to communities and helps its partners conserve local and natural resources and develop close-to-home outdoor recreation opportunities. Throughout the process, Brian Leaders, RLA, has served as the RTCA project coordinator, providing guidance and bringing a national perspective to the project.

"This project has been a shining example of all we hope to accomplish with the National Parks Service Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program. We want to recognize Manhattan, all of the partners in this project, and especially Wyatt Thompson for his dedication in helping this park become a reality of nature, play, and conservation for the community," said Brian Leaders. 

To develop the Plan, City leaders worked closely with the National Parks Service and local partners, including the Kansas Forest Service, Kansas Trails Council, Kansas Native Plant Society, Manhattan Trail Works, USD 383 - Amanda Arnold Elementary, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Flint Hills Discovery Center, and landscape architects, archaeologists, and range management experts from Kansas State University. 

"This is a great honor to receive from the NPS, and even more grateful for the opportunity to work with so many knowledgeable and passionate community members. This Plan would not have been possible without assistance from our partners and input from City Commissioners, Advisory Board members and hundreds of Manhattan residents who worked with us throughout the planning process. We are excited about the future accessibility this park will have for all residents," said Thompson. 

The Park Master Plan proposes restoration of 84 acres of native prairie and woodlands and plans 9 acres of developed park amenities. Planned features include playgrounds, picnic areas, restrooms, scenic overlooks, an outdoor classroom, open activity lawns, native landscape gardens, and interpretive signage. The plan also proposes 7 miles of hiking and biking trails.

The master plan was reviewed by the City Commission at a work session, March 27, and will be reviewed for acceptance as a final plan in May. To see the complete plan you may view it here or visit . 

The mission of Manhattan Parks and Recreation Department is to build a healthy community through people, parks, and programs.  
People - Engaging the diverse residents of our community with parks, facilities, and programs
Parks - Providing open space and connecting our community to our physical, natural, and cultural resources
Programs - Improving physical, social, and emotional well being, positively impacting community health and wellness.
To learn more about Manhattan Parks and Recreation, please visit 
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Pictured below:  Manhattan Mayor, Linda Morse, Assistant Director of Parks and Recreation, Wyatt Thompson, PLA, ASLA, CPSI, and Landscape Architect, Brian Leaders, RLA, with the National Parks Service U.S. Department of the Interior. Thompson received the Partner in Excellence award from the National Parks Service, recently at the Manhattan City Commission meeting.