As the Manhattan Parks & Recreation Department looks ahead to 2020, a major focus will be placed on facility improvements, including recreation facilities that will be constructed at the two Manhattan middle schools.

Parks and Rec officials are anticipating a fast moving process for the two recreation centers.

“The two middle school recreation centers that we’re working on jointly with the school district shared-use facilities, they’re in a final-design step right now and we hope to start construction on those in 2020 and have those open and available for the community in 2021,” Eddie Eastes, the director for Manhattan Parks and Rec, said.

The Manhattan Parks and Recreation Department will also be unveiling a new health initiative in 2020.

Wyatt Thompson, the assistant director for Manhattan Parks and Rec, says it’s called Building Healthy, a program he says they hope will promote healthy living through a variety of ways.

“It’s a chance for us to really help Manhattan get healthier, to promote the overall health of our community and I think you’ll see that in several different ways and the ways that we talk about our programs and the ways we promote those programs and special events,” Thompson said.

According to Thompson, the initiative will engage local businesses and other community partners.

 “I think you’ll also see in that in some new programs and activities and special events that have kind of a specific healthy lifestyle focus and I think that will be an opportunity for us to showcase some new partnerships with health experts and healthcare providers in the community that are coming alongside us in that effort as well,” Thompson said.

Information related to Building Healthy will be available in the winter/spring activity guide at

In addition, Eddie Eastes says the department is looking into its options for public WiFi at Manhattan City Park and that preliminary discussions are underway with Wamego Telephone Company.

“They have some interest to maybe look at the park and see if that’s possible to do,” Eastes said. “(The) Johnny Kaw platform actually does have public WiFi just in that small location. Finding another way, another opportunity to provide that for the community: sure, we’re going to look at that.”

City Park previously had WiFi thanks to a now expired grant partnership with the Manhattan Public Library.


Brandon Peoples and Derek Simmons contributed to this article.

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