Parks For All projects preserve memories and provide lasting legacies in outdoor spaces maintained by Shawnee County Parks + Recreation. Made possible by generous community members, these projects bring about a vibrant atmosphere that encourages Topeka and Shawnee County residents to get outside and enjoy their time together.
Lake Shawnee Junior Pond Renovations
Through an endowment established through the Parks For All Foundation, the Hangers have made possible the preservation and development of the area immediately south of the entry drive to the Garden House and Yacht Club. The beginning of the Hanger Family Preserve is already established. The preserve completes the 37.5 acres that comprise Ted Ensley Gardens – the 9.5-acre garden area, the arboretum on the west side of West Edge Road, and the Dick and Dotty Hanger Family Preserve.
The fishing pond was in need of renovation as the banks were eroding and silting in the pond and encouraging weed growth along the bank area. The sidewalks and spillway were also cracked and buckled. The pond was drained so that decorative concrete blocks could be placed to shore up the banks and prevent future erosion. A 10-foot wide ADA accessible path was poured to encircle the pond and a waterfall feature was added to beautify the area. Through the Dick and Dotty Hanger Family Fund, the Parks For All Foundation contributed more than half of the funding for the $421,500 project.
The Hangers have had a lifetime love for Lake Shawnee. Dick served as Shawnee County Commissioner from the Third District from 1960 through 1968, a period that saw the creation of the Shawnee County Parks + Recreation Department, the construction of the Shawnee County Courthouse, and the development of Lake Shawnee as a public park, including the construction of Lake Shawnee Junior and the Lake Shawnee Golf Course. To honor their commitment and service to the community, the Shawnee County Board of County Commissioners officially dedicated the the area surrounding the Lake Shawnee Junior as the “Dick and Dotty Hanger Family Preserve”.
The renovated fishing pond at Lake Shawnee was dedicated on October 29, 2018 as the “Hanger Family Fishing Pond” to recognize Dick and Dotty Hanger’s legacy of support. To preserve nature experiences for youth, the Hangers established an endowment through the Shawnee County Parks + Recreation Foundation. The fund covered more than half the cost of the renovation. Dick Hanger served as a county commissioner when Lake Shawnee was established as a public park and the fishing pond was created. Memorial benches are available for $2,500 each and donations to complete the Dick and Dotty Hanger Family Preserve may be made by calling 251-6885.