By Jon A. Brake
Terry DeWeese, director of Manhattan Parks and Recreation, told the Parks
and Rec. Board Monday night that Warner Park was closed in 1990 because of
complaints and vandalism problems reported by the neighborhood.
If this is true why is the City of Manhattan purchasing land for new parks?
If the City can not keep Warner Park safe and clean, we should not be
building new parks. Why is Frank Anneberg Park open? Why is it that Warner
Park is the only park that is closed?
Warner Park is a beautiful park on the southwest part of Manhattan. It is
well maintained by the Parks Department. The only problem is the City has
closed the road into the park. Anyone wanting to use the park must stop at
the gate and walk. It is not a short walk.
Before the City spends money on another land purchase for recreation, they
need to use what they have.
BACKGROUND & HISTORY of WARNER MEMORIAL PARK
In April 1957, Kern and Bessie Warner offered to give 40 acres of land to
the City of Manhattan as a gift to be used as a Public Park. On May 7,
1957, an agreement was signed by and with the City Commissioners. Both the
deed and the Commissioner's minutes stated that the park would have
GUARANTEED ( please note the word guaranteed public access.
In June 1997 an additional 10 acres were added to the 40 acres with the
same terms and stipulations as the above first gift and the park would be
named Warner Memorial Park.
On July 2, 1957, the City purchased 30 more acres from the Warner Family
for $6,000. Kern Warner then returned $1,500 of the money to the City since
10 acres were already donated to the City.
At an unspecified time, over $8,000 was raised by public donations for the
Warner Memorial Park. The excess money of over $6,000 plus $1,500/year for
3 years which equals $4,500 was received from the Park Board and another
$4,500 was donated by the Sertoma Club to be used for improvements of the
On July 16, 1957, it was agreed that the entire 80 acres were to be named
Warner Memorial Park. It must be pointed out that the original gift
acreage that was isolated at the east end of the park was called "Little
Warner Park" by the city which the Warner Family did not appreciate and
deeply resented the action.
On October 19, 1957, the Schuss Family gave 0.55 acres or as specified in
the deed, 60 feet of Right of Way to the Park for a future Main Entrance.
On October 19, 1957, Rodney and Glen Warner, sons of Kern Warner, gave $500
each which totaled $1,000 to the Park Fund.
In January 1958, the Park Board designated the Northeast Corner of the Park
as the Main Entrance.
In March 1958, Kern Warner obtained a permit from KDOT to provide an access
off K-18 to the SW corner of his land on Arbor Heights. He also gave a gift
of 1.35 acres and Leona Miller provided a gift of 0.6 acres to build Warner
In September 1965, Cherry Hills and Heather Heights were annexed into the
City. In October 1965, Arbor Heights was annexed into the City.
In 1966, Warner Park was listed on the City's May as being within the City
Limits of Manhattan.
In 1972, Jim John's land was annexed into the City Limits.
In 1974 the Cross Country Trail was added to Warner Park.
In September 1985, the Park Board reconsidered and reviewed proposed
additions and improvements to Warner Park, yet no improvements were done.
In December 1987, Jim Johns donated to the 1.26 acres along the East
Boundary South of the Entrance Road.
In February of 1987, a KSU intern working for the Park Department developed
a report for making Warner Park improvements. Again, nothing was done and
no improvements were done.
In 1990, the Southwest gate of Warner Park was closed, barricaded and
locked. This action was stated as being temporary.1
In 1996, Bill Warner made the following proposals to the Park Board:
A. Redefine Warner Park as a Public Community Park and reestablish all of
the park as originally agreed upon as "Warner Memorial Park."
B. Reestablish the boundary lines of the park.2
C. Provide Public Access (open west road), and also develop appropriate
access using the Northeast corner and/or open other gifted land.
D. Restore natural areas! Specifically, clear cedars which have grown
because of lack of proper burning. This was particularly important on the
east end of Warner Park which restricts the view to the north, east and
E. Build three (3) restrooms with drinking water to be located on the
southwest corner, the east side, and the Central Valley area.
F. Construct public picnic (either new or rehabilitated) use areas for
accessibility of the general public, which includes the handicapped,
especially the eastern area of the park. Construct informal game areas.4
G. Improve signs.5
H. Establish regular yearly budget of improvements of the park.
I. Establish day use rules, park curfew rules, and RCPD patrol of the park.
In 1997 Agnes Warner, Kern and Bessis' daughter-in-law, offered the Park
Commission $5,000 per year for 5 years to provide an appropriate east side
access to Warner Park. Her offer was denied and rejected.
1 This was in direct violation of the American Disabilities Act which was
passed and signed into Federal Law of July 26, 1990, Section 504, that
states any actions concerning the public access of public parks. The
Accommodations of the law proved individuals may file complaints with the
U.S. Department of Justice and/or bring private Lawsuits upon the offending
2 That has been done.
3 The west side was done, but the east side was ignored.
4 Construct playgrounds, trails, etc., with the intention of meeting the
ADA (American Disabilities Association) requirements.
5 Appropriate signs were needed on K-113, K-118, Schuss Road, Warner Park
Road and at both of the Park's Entrances.
6 This was agreed upon and accepted by the Park Commission and the land was
TOTAL WARNER FAMILY GIFTS
Land: The Original 40 acres, Donated 10 more acres if the Park was named,
"Warner memorial Park.6, 1.35 acres was given for Warner Park Road.
Total land given by the Warner Family was 51.35 acres.
Money: $1,500 was returned to City and/or Park Board when City/Park Board
purchased 30 additional for $6,000., 1,000 was donated by two sons of the
Warner Family for improvements.
Total amount of money provided by the Warner Family equals $3,500.
OTHER LAND, MONEY AND VOLUNTEER GIFTS
Schuss Family donated 1.43 acres.
Johns Family donated 1.26 acres.
Total land donated by friends and neighbors equals 2.69 acres.
Community members donated $8,000, Sertoma Club donated $4,500
Total amount of money donated by community equals $12,500.
National Guard built roads and helped on other facilities.
Bayer Construction built roads and helped on other facilities.
Construction of picnic area
Construction of play area
Construction of Archery course
Construction of Frisbee course
Construction of Military trail