Small Topeka park making big waves

TOPEKA (KSNT) – For the last two weeks, Teresa Miller has been trying to get the attention of the county.

She wants their attention turned again to the demolition of a restroom – an act she thinks is an example of the failings of the Shawnee County Parks and Recreation Department.

“I don’t know. I just call it stupidity on their part,” she said Wednesday. “If they can do things for certain people, they should be able to do it for all people or not do it.”

Miller, the president of the North Topeka West NIA, said the park has historical significance in the city. She said it was started by a group of black women created the park during the Brown vs Board of Education fight in the city.

The park sits on a small part of the city block near N.E. Grodon, down the street from McKinley School.

Immediately following the demolition, Miller threatened a lawsuit against the county but that is now rethinking that idea. She said some of the women in that group may not want to pursue legal action.

But that is not stopping her from voicing her opinion.

“My plan right now is to blast the parks department at the council meeting,” she said. Miller said she would be in attendance at the Shawnee County Commissioners meeting Thursday morning.

However, her efforts may not be enough.

“As far as restoration of the bathroom facilities…no there won’t be bathroom facilities that are being rebuilt or put back into the park,” said Kevin Cook, Shawnee County Commission Chair. “Quite frankly under the parks and rec standards a park of that size just doesn’t qualify for a bathroom. It’s something that’s beyond the ability for us to properly maintain.”

Miller said there is grant money coming to the North Topeka West NIA and she plans on using it for the park. However, those funds will not be available until 2017.

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