|JCPRD Announces Acquisition of Mildale Farm Property|
On Feb. 25 the Johnson County Park and Recreation District closed on the purchase of Mildale Farm and a total of 600 acres in the southwestern corner of the county. The acquisition was formally announced March 1 during a press conference held in the large and distinctively-constructed barn on the Mildale Farm property.
Following approximately 18 months of negotiations, the District agreed to a purchase price of $6.4 million for the property. The contract was approved by the District’s Board of Commissioners during its Feb. 16 meeting.
The property includes the 22-acre Mildale Farm and 578 acres of surrounding agricultural properties. The farm retreat at 35250 W. 199th Street is located immediately northeast of the Edgerton City limits and about four miles west of Gardner. It is contiguous with 1,350 acres the District purchased in the late 1990s for the future Big Bull Creek Regional Park. The two properties share a half mile of common border along 199th Street.
“It’s very exciting,” Director Michael Meadors said of the purchase. “This is certainly one of the most significant pieces of property the District has acquired, and it dramatically enhances the potential and scope of the future Big Bull Creek regional park.”
The centerpiece of the 22-acre Mildale Farm property is a high-quality equestrian-style barn constructed by the property’s previous owner in 2002 as a family retreat. Featuring multiple cupolas and dormer windows, the two-story barn has 8,672 square feet of ground space and 5,135 additional square feet on the second floor. The barn features peg construction and has limited mechanical fasteners. The barn also has a hand-laid brick floor. It is also equipped with restrooms, catering kitchens, and partitioning capability. Though designed with an equestrian motif, the barn has never been used for keeping horses or other animals and has been utilized primarily as a rental location for social functions, including weddings, family gatherings and other social events, as well as business functions, and corporate retreats.
Also on the 22-acre site is a 4,300-square-foot second smaller barn featuring stables, horse tack rooms, and a two-story caretaker’s quarters. Originally built in 1962, this smaller barn was also completely renovated in 2002. There are also two homes on the site including a 3,354-square-foot brick home in the Williamsburg style, and a 1,249-square-foot secondary cottage. The 20-foot wide primary driveways within the farm site feature approximately 2,500 linear feet of brick construction. Lining the property boundaries along U.S. Highway 56, as well as along 199th Street is approximately five miles of three-rail white polystyrene fencing.
Also on the property are nine small manmade fishing ponds, including two that are between five and seven acres and seven of five acres or less. One mile of frontage along Bull Creek is also on the property.
Mildale Farm was assembled by the previous property owners over approximately 10 years beginning in 1992. With the addition of Mildale Farm’s 600 acres, the expanded future Big Bull Creek Regional Park will encompass about 1,950 acres, making it the second largest area of green space in the county’s park system. Planning for development of the unimproved portions of the park is expected to begin in 2009.
District officials began negotiations for the acquisition of Mildale Farm in September 2003, said JCPRD Planning and Development Manager Bill Maasen.
“This was one of the first properties the District pursued after receiving budget approval from the Board of County Commissioners that allowed for the allocation of approximately $26 million for land acquisition over a three year period beginning in 2004,” Maasen said. “It has been a very complex negotiation and a complex transaction.”
“We’re excited that it’s done and are looking forward to putting it to use,” added JCPRD Board Chair Marvin “Doc” Wollen. “As part of the year-long celebration of the District’s 50th anniversary, we're making plans now for a special event and open house later this year that will allow the public to see first-hand just how magnificent this property is.”
Beginning immediately the District will continue using the 22-acre developed area as a rental facility, and in fact had two 2005 events scheduled for the facility before even taking possession.
“We’ll be renting it as a whole facility as it has been rented in the past – weddings, receptions, all types of family reunions,” said JCPRD Corporate and Community Wellness Manager Jill Leiker. “Based on the phone calls that we’ve gotten already, we anticipate we are going to be very busy. If people would like to have an event in 2005, they need to call right away.”
For more information or to reserve the facility, call Leiker at (913) 236-1236.