Despite severe storms marching across central Oklahoma Thursday, nearly 40 Shawnee-area residents attended a special City Commission meeting held to share design ideas for a handful of the community's premiere parks.

Despite severe storms marching across central Oklahoma Thursday, nearly 40 Shawnee-area residents attended a special City Commission meeting held to share design ideas for a handful of the community's premiere parks.

Connie Scothorn and Brian Patric, of CLS & Associates, LLC, Landscape Architects, walked the group through some preliminary mock-ups of four of the city's most-used parks: KidSpace Park, Briscoe Boy Scout Rotary Park, Celebration of Life Park and Woodland Veterans Memorial Park.

Director of Operations James Bryce said he has another two other parks lined up to be explored for improvements as well.

Attendees offered feedback on some of the plans, including concerns with handicap accessibility, questions about walking trails and suggestions of adding other elements and amenities to the parks.

Blue Zones representatives offered suggestions based on their experience and expertise in the area of community shared space — to which the city and architects were very receptive.

City Manager Justin Erickson said the designs displayed are not actual specs or plans to put into action at this time — they are merely a starting point to gauge the direction of improvements the community may want to pursue. With the intent to incorporate feedback from residents and do some more fine-tuning, the plans are not yet set in stone.

Included among the designs is a model of what some city leaders, like Mayor Richard Finley, would like the future of Woodland to become — a centralized park that could ultimately reach east to the railroad tracks and then a bit south to include the Pottawatomie County Museum at the old depot station.

Erickson said it's a pipe dream that would have to be supported by residents to become reality.

“It's something that could potentially be pursued in the next five or 10 years,” he said, “if the community wants it.”

Erickson said the city is not acquiring land around Woodland Park — right now the idea is just a 'what-if.'

You can reach Vicky O. Misa at (405) 214-3962.