May 14, 2021

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Shawnee Co. Parks and Recreation hopes Hillcrest Community Center can be a place for local pride

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – The Hillcrest neighborhood can anticipate a bright future by taking a look at the newly renovated community center at Hillcrest Park.



a close up of a brick building: The front of Hillcrest Community Center which has just completed renovations.


© Provided by Topeka WIBW-TV
The front of Hillcrest Community Center which has just completed renovations.

The building is decked out in Shawnee Co. Parks and Recreation blue, green and orange from the walls to the floors.

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Mike McLaughlin, Parks and Rec’s Communications and Public Information Supervisor said the updates are a way to give back to one of the area’s longest loved parks.

“These parks have been here for 50 years so they really needed some updating so we really wanted to give people something new and modern something that the neighborhood can be proud of and really enjoy and appreciate coming into,” he said.

The indoor updates that total over $600,000 dollars include remodeled meeting rooms, upgrades to the gym, a relocation to the front desk to assure better security and a cafe-style computer area.

Those who’ve been around the project, like the community center’s Recreational Leader, Daniel Figge, said the transformation has been needed.

“It’s only taken a couple months to basically flip the switch and go from 30 years prior to modern the building used to look like it was in the 70s kind of 80s look to now as you look around the building it kinda looks 21st century,”

Figge said it can be a hopeful symbol for the neighborhood.

“It can bring out the community’s heart up, good things are coming brightness always brings out some kind of joy in people and it makes them feel like there’s something that can be accomplished.”

The community center updates are the final touches on a three-year project to renovate Hillcrest Park with features like outdoor fitness equipment, a new playground, futsal courts and touch-ups to Topeka’s original aquatic center, Hillcrest Pool.

The outdoor renovations totaled over $400,000.

McLaughlin said the department wanted to make sure some of the areas oldest communities were shown care.

“This was once the fancy new park but when you come back down the road 50 years later, now all of a sudden it’s an old park with aging equipment so we really felt the need to come in here and renew this park,” he said.

“One thing about Parks and Rec is that we’re big on equity we’re equitable for all citizens in the community open to everyone andt that means we have to take care of the parks system all around the community.”

He said he hopes locals are pleased with all Hillcrest Park has to offer.

“The biggest thing we hope for the neighborhood that’s served by Hillcrest Community Center is that they’ll be proud proud of what they have to enjoy take care of and be proud the parks department has been able to serve thier community and look forward to more in the future.”

Another area on Parks and Rec’s wish list to renovate includes Oakland Billard Park.

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