|Ribbon cutting for new Lexington Lake Park set for Saturday, July 8|
The ribbon cutting will take place beginning at 9 a.m. and will also be the park’s official public opening. Lexington Lake Park is located at 8850 Sunflower Road in De Soto north of Kansas 10 Highway. See driving instructions below.
The ribbon cutting ceremony is expected to last about a half hour and will feature a number of local officials from De Soto, Johnson County, and JCPRD, which will own and operate the new park. Giveaways are also planned.
Previously known as Rieke Lake, this 465-acre inverted L-shaped property features a 27 acre lake, which was previously a private fishing lake originally constructed in the 1950s.
“The lake will provide a new outstanding fishing opportunity,” said Johnson County Park & Recreation District Field Biologist Matt Garrett. “We surveyed it and it’s a high-quality fishery. It’ll be a great crappie fishing lake, and also has large-mouth bass.”
Phase I development of the park got under way in August 2016 and includes a boat ramp and courtesy dock to provide access to the lake. Other Phase I amenities include a 1.55 mile (2.5 kilometer) paved trail around the lake, a playground, restroom, and picnic shelter.
One of the park’s unique natural features is a virgin prairie officials believe has never been plowed on the lake’s west side. This area, which encompasses about nine acres, has been surveyed and 120 prairie species, including the federally-threatened Mead’s milkweed, were found at the site.
In addition to the native prairie, JCPRD has converted an additional 60 acres to tallgrass prairie and there are plans to expand this in the future.
While visitors will enter the park through a grassy area, more than 300 acres of the site are covered in oak and hickory forest towards the northern side of the property. This area slopes downwards toward the Kansas River, which is about a half mile northeast of the park.
“There are remnants of old structures in there and there’s a fairly lengthy section of an old stone wall that was built probably at least 100 years ago,” said JCPRD Project Manager Bill Leek. “There are some remnants of other stone structures back in there.”
To get to Lexington Lake Park, take Kansas10 west from Interstate 435 towards Lawrence. Exit at Lexington Ave in De Soto and turn right going south under K-10 to 95th Street. Turn right (west) onto 95th and go approximately 1 mile to the Sunflower Road intersection. Turn right (north) onto Sunflower Road and go approximately one-half mile, passing back under K-10 to the park entrance on your left.