|New Master Plan Presented for Antioch Park|
Improving water quality in the park’s two lakes, expanding the Dodge Town play area, moving the park’s maintenance compound to a more inauspicious location, and providing a more organized trail system and more convenient parking are among the many goals of a recently-completed new master plan for Antioch Park.
The plan was outlined for Johnson County Park and Recreation District Board members, staff, and the public when the Board conducted a Committee of the Whole meeting on April 7 at Shawnee Mission Park’s Administrative Building.
P.J. Novick, principal of Theis Doolittle & Associates, whose firm was hired by the District late last year to prepare the plan, said the master plan calls for $4 million in improvements to the park to be completed through four phases.
During its April 23 meeting, the District Board authorized a contract for design work and construction documents for an estimated $1.1 million in improvements for Antioch Park. Those improvements are expected to begin late this summer and will satisfy the majority of work called for in the master plan's Phase I.
Novick said the master plan's first priority is to improve water quality in the park’s two lakes and allow for the removal of posted warning signs which tell would-be fisherman not to eat fish from the two lakes. This will involve draining and dredging the lakes as well as actively promoting and planting ""wetland cells" on the east ends of both bodies of water to filter storm-water run-off.
Other first-phase work to begin later this year includes: cleaning of inorganic debris from creeks throughout the park; installation of limestone posts and split rail fence along the park's Antioch Road frontage; and construction of a wooden deck system with interpretive signage along the south shore of the South Lake and within the wetland cells. These will also serve as part of a one-mile loop trail to be constructed around the perimeter of the park.
No timeline for the additional improvement phases has been set and funds for this work is not currently included in MAP 2020.
As explained by Novick, Phase II would involve nearly doubling the Dodge Town and separating age-group areas. Seating benches and covered pavilions for picnics would also be added and the shade structure around Building A would be removed.
Phase II also calls for the slight realignment of the park's entry road in order to relocate parking to make it more convenient. This will also involve adding more greenspace near the park's Vietnam Veterans Memorial and adding terrace seating near the park's fire circle.
Proposed Phase III improvements include removing the existing Shelter #2 on the north side of the entry drive and replacing it with a new shelter with a fireplace on the south side of the North Lake. The plan also calls for construction of a small fishing dock and fishing pavilion on the North Lake.
Other phase II work includes: expanding and enhancing the rose garden and arboretum; restoring the Burr Oak Savannah area near the southeast corner of the park; minor improvements to the parks eastern pedestrian entrance in order to slow bicycle traffic; and adding terraced grass seating on the north side of the existing Shelter #4.
As proposed, the plan's final phase would involve relocating the park's maintenance compound from its current location to the southwest corner of the park. This would provide a more pleasing environment for the expanded playground and provide additional supervision for that area of the park. As part of this move, a new restroom for staff and patron use would be constructed.
As the District's first developed park, Antioch Park was initially dedicated in 1958. This 44-acre park remains one of the JCPRD's most popular, attracting 700,000 to 800,000 visitors per year.
Development of the new master plan for Antioch Park and other JCPRD parks was a recommendation of the District's 20-year Master Action Plan (MAP 2020). Work on the Antioch Park Master Plan took place between late November 2002 and mid-April 2003. This process included opportunities for public input during a Walk the Park Workshop in mid-December, and at Renew the Park Workshops in mid-January and mid-February.
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