Salina City Commissioners approve a project creating an emergency exit at the Bill Burke Park sports complex.
Currently the complex, which has multiple baseball and soccer fields, has only one access point to enter and exit. The only way vehicles can go in and out of the park is via an access road from Crawford Street.
With only one access point, there is concern about the possibility of a severe weather event occurring while there are thousands of people in the park. Currently it is time consuming to evacuate the park.
Commissioners Monday evening approved an emergency exit point. It will be located in the northwest corner of the park, where the flood control levy connects to the Indian Rock hill. Currently there is hike / bike trail. It will be reinforced and widened so that vehicles can use it as an exit. It will be used during an emergency evacuation. The project will not exceed $50,000.
The Bill Burke Complex was completed in 1980. In 1981 the complex was named for longtime sports editor and sports advocate for the Salina Journal, Bill Burke. Like its namesake, Bill Burke Park is dedicated to youth sports. Bill Burke Park houses eight youth baseball and softball fields, three soccer fields, a concession facility, two restrooms two shelter houses and a picnic area which is nestled in the wooded area north of the fields. In 1990, lights were installed on five fields and an underground sprinkler system added. Four batting cages were also added by a private concessionaire. In 1998, through a donation by Red Baron Ambucs, an accessible playground was installed. In 2004 three soccer fields were added to the complex.