|Volunteers to Lend a Hand for historic Shawnee Mission Park clean-up|
As part of National Public Lands Day, Bridging the Gap and the Johnson County Park and Recreation District are organizing a major “Lend a Hand” volunteer effort on Saturday, September 29. The event is scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon in Shawnee Mission Park, 7900 Renner Road, Lenexa.
“This will be a working celebration of Shawnee Mission Park and a rare opportunity to make a very positive impact on one of our region’s most valuable recreational resources,” said BTG Volunteer Coordinator Laura O’Brien.
Volunteers will be assigned to various areas around Shawnee Mission Park Lake to remove the trash and debris that have been exposed as a result of the lake being lowered for improvement projects. BTG affiliate Keep Kansas City Beautiful will manage the lake clean-up.
Two other BTG affiliates will be coordinating additional volunteer projects in the park that day. Kansas City Wildlands will be removing invasive plants from the park’s Ogg Road Prairie, and the Heartland Tree Alliance will be providing tree care in the park.
Pre-registration is required for the event. Volunteers may register by calling Laura O’Brien at (816) 561-1061, ext. 109.
According to Grant Evans, Senior Park Manager of Shawnee Mission Park, this is the first time since the lake was opened in 1959 that the lake has been drawn down to such a low level.
“With the lake down by over 8 feet,” Evans said, “we have a chance to access and remove quite a bit of the trash that has settled on the lake bottom since it was opened in 1959. Now that it’s exposed, it’s alarming how much has accumulated over the years.”
“Thanks to Bridging the Gap’s volunteers,” Evans added, “we’ll be able to take advantage of an opportunity that may not come along again for another 50 years.”
The lake has been drawn down to allow for several major modifications that are currently being made by the park and recreation district. Silt is being removed and a wetland is being created in the east end of the lake. The wetland will protect the water quality of the lake from increased sediment and pollutant loading due to all the development upstream from the lake.
Other JCPRD construction projects now underway around the lake have been designed to improve access to the water. The dam will be reshaped to incorporate a trail for fishermen, new docks will be installed at the Marina, and the beach in the off-leash dog area is being reconstructed and will include an ADA-compliant access route.
National Public Lands Day is an annual hands-on volunteer effort to improve and enhance public lands. Last year over 100,000 volunteers were involved in projects nation-wide. Locally, Bridging the Gap recruited 100 volunteers to help restore the historic Cliff Drive Scenic Byway in Kansas City, Mo.
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Bridging the Gap Volunteer Coordinator Laura O’Brien - (816) 561-1061 x109
JCPRD Community Relations Manager Randy Knight - (913) 894-3323
Bridging the Gap Communications Coordinator May Evans - (816) 561-1061 x101