• Planners look at historic Main Post

  • Fort Leavenworth conducted a charrette as the third part of the real property master planning process.

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  • Jennifer Walleman | Staff Writer
    A roundabout at the five-way intersection where the Grant statue now stands, a trail going parallel to the railroad tracks and an amphitheater with internet access and seating by the lake were just a few ideas discussed during the master planning workshop Jan. 27-29 at the Frontier Conference Center.
    As part of the master planning requirement in unified facility criteria 2-100-01 mandated by the undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics in 2012, Fort Leavenworth conducted a charrette as the third part of the real property master planning process.
    This charrette, sponsored by Installation Management Command and facilitated by IMCOM contractors from the Louis Berger Group, brought together planning staff, tenants and stakeholders from north of the lakes on Main Post for a brainstorming session that reviewed strengths and weaknesses of post and provided input on future improvements in the next 20 years. A second charrette covering the southern part of post will be conducted in a few months.
    In 2015, IMCOM and Fort Leavenworth Directorate of Public Works staff completed step 1 and 2 of the real property master plan. Step 1 was developing the vision plan, which included the installation’s planning objectives and goals, and a framework plan of the planning districts. They also developed installation planning standards for buildings, streets and landscapes, which are a clear set of guidelines ensuring the vision and planning objectives are achieved.
    The purpose of the charrette was to identify projects that are a possibility on post in the next 20 years, prioritize them and then create a plan summary that can be assessed and edited as mission and other future changes occur.
    “The intention for these plans is we are creating a vision for what we want it to be in 20 years,” said Ben Zitelli, senior planner at Louis Berger. “That’s the starting point for developing projects. What we can get out of that or the Garrison gets out of that is we can start to identify projects that will make this happen so they can take that next step to prioritize those projects and get them in the funding stream.”
    Representatives from different agencies on post gave their input and presented issues and concerns about their facilities and how the post is working overall. Participants also created a spot analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of what is and is not working in the district regarding streets, landscape and facilities.
    Recurring themes centered around preserving the historic character of post, improving walking neighborhood connections between neighborhoods and other areas of post, efficiencies in transportation networks, parking efficiency, road networks and reducing the cost of maintenance. Participants also went out and walked the whole district to see what was doable and to validate some of the issues.
    Page 2 of 3 - Marina Hueners, planner with Louis Berger, said that the groups were working on identifying areas that would improve the connectability of post.
    “We’re actually now targeting a lot of areas that are recreational areas that will get the community and students together and we’re highlighting areas that are really good hot spots,” Hueners said. “Right now a lot of the circulation paths are really fragmented around the whole installation. So what we are trying to do is improve streets, we’re trying to improve pedestrian circulation and as far as the buildings go we are consolidating the right missions, functions, into one area. Another big observation is parking and bicycle transportation, conflicting with vehicle and pedestrians. We have to figure out how to consolidate parking in certain areas so they’re not competing with bikes on the roads. That’s probably one of the biggest objectives that we have come to terms.”
    Parking limitations were a big issue brought up by participants, said Maureen Goodrich, community planner with IMCOM headquarters out of San Antonio, Texas.
    “The discussion was that a lot of comments said there is not enough parking, but actually the group has kind of looked at it from a different vantage point that maybe there is too much parking in here and not in the right locations. Maybe we need to look at some of the lots that are not filling up and how do we make them more attractive to kind of spread that parking out and possibly look at some areas where there are roadways and creating pedestrian-only paths.”
    Rick Wells, master planner for DPW, said that he found the discussions interesting and informative.
    “A lot of the tenants of the post are experiencing the same issues, so there’s been a lot of agreement between everybody as far as the things we need to look at, the strengths we have here on the post with our historic district, the beauty of the post and what not, and the problems it also generates with traffic circulation, future areas that we can build in and expansion possibilities,” Wells said. “It has its great assets and then it has its drawbacks. It’s good to have the people here who use the facilities on a daily basis and using all the amenities participating. I can sit in my office all day and try to plan and never understand how people are actually using their part of post.”
    Wells said that after the charrette, DPW will have to come up with a capital investment plan on how to invest the funds available — “which is kind of like prioritizing our wish list for Christmas,” Wells said.
    Page 3 of 3 - National Guard 1st Lt. Michael Benz, facilities officer, Mission Training Complex, attended the charrette. He said that Fort Leavenworth was one of the prettiest installations he has visited.
    “It’s a beautiful post,” Benz said. “I grew up in the Kansas City area. I’m a Missouri Guardsman, but compared to posts I’ve been to in the Marine Corps and even Air Force installations by far this is one of the prettiest because of its historical nature.”
    Benz said he’d like to see more walkways and bikeways in future development of post.
    Steve Cormier, adjutant general, said that one of his favorite ideas to come from the charrette was adding a roundabout at the five-way intersection by the Grant statue. Other ideas discussed included an RV park or using parking behind the old USDB for other uses such as a new fitness center, which would help alleviate parking near Gruber Fitness Center.
    Cormier said that working with people from all over post brought good perspectives.
    “We’re all looking at it for the future — what fits better,” Cormier said.
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