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First Look at Preliminary Master plan Proposals for Ernie Miller Park
POSTED: 09/19/2003
A relocated park entrance, an area dedicated to Day Camp use, and a small section of connecting multi-use trail are among possibilities being considered for Ernie Miller Park, 909 North Kansas 7 Highway, Olathe.

Some of the changes being considered for this and two other parks (see related news releases) were outlined for Johnson County Park and Recreation District Board Members during a Special Board Meeting on Sept. 8.

During the meeting, a consultant with Landplan Engineering outlined highlights of preliminary new master plans being prepared for Shawnee Mission Park, Heritage Park, and Ernie Miller Park. Once completed, the master plans will guide future development and renovation of the parks and will be implemented over a number of years.

No final decisions on the plans have been made and the Sept. 8 presentation was a preview to a second series of public hearings set for Sept. 23 through 25 (see related news release). The second public meeting on Ernie Miller Park is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Sept. 25.

The preliminary plans were prepared following a first series of public meetings conducted in May as well as a separate series of meetings with other governmental representatives and special user groups in late August. No timeframe or budget figures for the proposed changes are being discussed at this time.

Officials acknowledged that a number of smaller projects not discussed at the Sept. 8 meeting are also contained in the proposals and will be discussed during the individual public meetings.

Among the major proposals for Ernie Miller Park are:

  • To improve access to the park, the park's only entrance would be moved north and aligned parallel to the intersection of 127th Street and Kansas 7 Highway. Upon entering the park, visitors could then go south to a loop drive providing access to the park's existing picnic shelter or north to the Nature Center.

  • The nature center's parking lot would be improved to provide better traffic flow and to allow school busses visiting the site to more easily turn around. A circle for parents dropping off camp participants is also planned.

  • The park's existing amphitheater would be moved northwest of the main parking lot to allow closer access to parking for programs and to eliminate a situation where the existing amphitheater is too close to a walking trail and is impacted by drainage problems.

  • The existing "Bittersweet Trail" would be eliminated in order to encourage more wildlife into the area immediately west of the Nature Center where a building expansion under way now is adding a wildlife viewing area. Wildlife viewing blinds would also be added near an existing small pond in the area.

  • As proposed, the northern portion of the triangular park would be dedicated to day camp and other interpretive activities. New trails and a dedicated shelter, complete with restrooms would be constructed. A small pond in the far north tip of the park and a small archery range on land leased by the District from the City of Olathe are also being discussed.

  • Officials said they are wary of adding more active use areas to this nature park, but the proposal includes a small portion of multi-use trail in the park's southwest corner, which would tie into a trail system being developed by the city of Olathe.

For more information, contact JCPRD Landscape Architect Jim Wilson at (913)438-7275

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