(Profile) Dodge City makes park improvements, extends hours

Mar. 30—Residents in large cities don't typically expect municipal leaders to listen to each of their individual request, much less take action to fulfill those requests, but with a population of less than 600, the people of Dodge City are able to rest assured that town councilmembers are accessible and willing to listen to the people they serve.

Visitors to Ray Park, located just behind the Dodge City Town Hall, may notice several improvements this spring and can thank a small handful of residents who proposed a few improvements to the town council last year.

Samantha Duke told the council in April 2023 that she and her family often enjoyed visiting the park. She said while the playground offered her younger children hours of entertainment the park didn't have much to offer her older teenage children.

"The park is mainly focused towards younger kids and there's teenagers in Dodge City, too. I don't know if it's possible of not, but I know it's been brought up in the past, to just concrete the basketball court just to give the older kids something to do," Duke said.

Duke's suggestion reignited the town's previous efforts — which stalled during the COVID-19 pandemic — to outfit a grassy area in the park with a regulation size concrete basketball court. In the process of installing the court, the town also repaired sections of the parks sidewalks and cable fencing which separate the park from a nearby bluff face.

Another resident mentioned to mayor Jason Burney that he wished Ray Park were open just a bit later so that he could enjoy more time in the evenings with his granddaughter. Rather than dismiss the conversation Burney brought the matter before the council who approved for the park to remain open an additional 30 minutes each evening through the end of October.

Keeping the town's senior citizens in mind, the town included its senior center parking lot in a roadway renovations effort surrounding the center and Dodge City Town Hall. The previous lot had developed a number of cracks and potholes which some residents said made the likelihood of a fall more likely.

Those same seniors said it was smooth sailing once the project was completed.