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New Park Master Plan Meetings on three properties set for early June in De Soto and Olathe
POSTED: 05/17/2008
Members of the public are invited to attend two workshops meant to provide opportunities for input on new master plans for Sunflower Nature Park in Edgerton, as well as two relatively large future park properties owned by the Johnson County Park and Recreation District in Olathe and De Soto.

The first workshop will concern the District's existing 57-acre Sunflower Nature Park in Eudora as well as a 465-acre site just west of the De Soto City limits known as the Rieke Lake Site. This workshop will take place from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Monday, June 2, at the De Soto Senior Center, 32905 W. 84th St., De Soto. The second workshop will concern a 900-acre site in western Olathe currently known as the Cedar Niles Property, and will take place from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 4, at the Ernie Miller Nature Center, 909 North Kansas 7 Highway, Olathe. Descriptions of the park properties are below.

Formulating new plans for existing and future parks was a recommendation of the District's 20-year Master Action Plan, MAP 2020, which was put into place in 2001. MAP 2020 recognized a need to update development and renovation plans for various district parks as a guide for the next 20 years.

In March, the District hired Bowman, Bowman and Novick of Kansas City, Mo., to prepare master plans for the three sites. This firm previously worked with the District in 2002 and early 2003 to prepare a master plan for Antioch Park, of which two phases have now been implemented.

In addition to the firm's own staff, the planning team for this project will include several others who have successfully worked together on previous projects. These include: the SK Design Group, which will provide civil engineering; Randall Root and Dennis Haag of Burns & McDonnell, who bring expertise in the areas of wildlife biology and environmental planning; and the Public Relations and Communications firm of Jane Mobley Associates.

Each workshop will include a review of the site's current conditions and facilities, if applicable, and a discussion of the master plan process. Following this review, the members of the public are invited to comment on park features they would like to implemented.

Individuals who are unable to attend the public meetings are encouraged to submit in writing their thoughts on the master plan update process of any of the three site in which they have an interest. Comments can be sent to

Due to the nature of the properties, it is anticipated the master plans for the future park sites will call primarily for passive uses such as trails and shelters. The Rieke and Cedar Niles properties could also potentially accommodate some sports fields, which is why public input on the properties' future use will be especially important.

Sunflower Nature Park is located at 36915 W. 103rd St, just south of K-10 near Edgerton Road. The park currently features two ball fields, one picnic shelter, two restroom buildings, a paved one-mile loop trail, a small fishing lake, and two parking lots. The park was first dedicated in 1984 and was visited by 46,289 people during 2007.

The Rieke Lake site is located just west of the De Soto and is located east of Edgerton Road, west of Sunflower Road, and north of K-10. The site includes a 30-acre lake previously used for fishing as well as a mix of woodlands, forest, and open areas in various forms of agricultural use.

The Cedar Niles site is located west of Kansas 7 Highway adjacent to Lake Olathe and The Prairie Center natural prairie area. The northern property boundary is 119th Street and the south boundary is one-half mile south of 135th Street, just east of The Prairie Center. Cedar Creek runs through the site, which is predominantly mixed woodlands with areas of open space. Among other issues, the master plan process will consider the property's connection with The Prairie Center and with nearby Lake Olathe, which is owned by the City of Olathe.

It is anticipated development of the master plans for Sunflower Park and the two future park sites will take place this summer and early fall with two additional public workshops in mid-July and a preliminary presentation to the District Board during it's Aug. 16 regular meeting. A final presentation of the completed plan to the District Board is anticipated on Oct. 3. Suggesting permanent names for the two future park sites in accordance with an internal District policy will be part of the process. Final naming of the sites will be subject to Board approval.

Implementation of the new master plans will be subject to fund availability and approval of the District Board, but current tentative Capital Improvement Plans call for development to begin at the future park sites in 2009 and at Sunflower Park in 2012.

This new planning effort follows planning processes for a number of other District parks including: Antioch Park, Shawnee Mission Park, Heritage Park, Ernie Miller Park, and Thomas S. Stoll Memorial Park.

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