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Antioch Park to Get New Master Plan, Renovations in 2003
POSTED: 12/12/2002
 
Preliminary steps toward a major renewal program at the Johnson County Park and Recreation District's oldest park are currently under way.

Being planned are a series of improvements totaling approximately $1 million at Antioch Park, 6501 Antioch, Merriam. These will include: extensive improvements to both of the park's lakes; landscaping and parking lot improvements; pedestrian path and drainage improvements; repaving of basketball courts; and office building renovations.

During its Nov. 20 meeting, the JCPRD Board approved the hiring of Theis Doolittle Associates Inc. (TDA) of Kansas City, Mo., to provide landscape architectural and planning design services to develop a new master plan for the park. Theis Doolittle Principal Paul Novick said he hopes to complete the Antioch Park Master Plan by late March 2003.

As the District's first developed park, Antioch Park was initially dedicated in 1958. The 44-acre park remains one of the JCPRD's most popular, attracting 700,000 to 800,000 visitors per year.

"There are deterioration issues at that park due to the age of the facilities there, especially having to do with erosion around the lakes and drainage, " explained JCPRD Landscape Architect Cliff Middleton. "Part of the consultant's charge is to develop this master plan so we know what we want the future of the park to be and set our priorities for what gets funded in this $1 million renovation."

The firm has planned a series of steps to gather information and public input on the project.

One of the first of these is a "Walk the Park Workshop," tentatively planned for Dec. 14. This activity will include two to three groups of six to eight people each, consisting of design team members, District Staff and Board Members, as well as a few members of the public who have been invited to participate based on their past use of the park. After walking the park, areas of unique character, high-use, historical value, and maintenance challenges, will be noted. Participants will then meet over lunch to review thoughts and perceptions.

TDA will then assemble information developed by the Walk the Park groups on an exhibit delineating site opportunities and challenges. A certified wildlife biologist, environmental planner and support staff will also evaluate the site and prepare a memo outlining environmental issues for review.

During a Renew the Park Workshop, tentatively set for Jan. 14, members of the general public will get their first chance to review all the information compiled to that point and discuss and prioritize possible park improvements.

With this input, consultants will produce two to three alternative plans. These will involve freehand drawings and will show the proposed elements and their relationship to each other.

A second Renew the Park Workshop, tentatively planned for Feb. 11, will be an opportunity to present the alternative plans to the public for review and comment. Following a group review, participants will have a chance to voice their likes and dislikes.

After receiving input from the District and interested individuals, the consultants will develop a final master plan. In preparation for presenting a final master plan during the District Board's March 19 regular meeting, the firm will also prepare cost estimates and develop a phasing plan.

Middleton said he anticipates actual construction at the park will probably begin in late summer 2003. He added that portions of the park could be impacted through the Summer of 2004.

In addition to the public meetings, individuals can send their comments concerning the Antioch Park project to the District by email at map2020@jocoks.com or by mail at: Map 2020, 17501 Midland Dr., Shawnee, KS 66217.

For more information, contact District Landscape Architect Cliff Middleton at (913) 438-7275.

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