|Antioch Park Rededication Planned For Oct. 15|
Following the completion earlier this year of two phases of major improvements, the Johnson County Park and Recreation District’s much-loved oldest park is being rededicated in a ceremony set for Saturday, Oct. 15.
Antioch Park, 6501 Antioch, Merriam, will be rededicated beginning at 10 a.m. The agenda for the event is still being finalized, but plans call for remarks and recognition of dignitaries and honored guests including representatives of the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners, the District Board of Commissioners, and the City of Merriam.
Among those invited to participate in the ribbon cutting is nine-year-old Leawood resident Zach Nickerson, who early in the park improvement process wrote to District Director Michael Meadors asking him not to "change the park too much and make it all shiny and new. " Meadors assured the boy that the changes will only improve the park and asked him to be a part of introducing the improved facilities.
The ceremony will also include a ribbon cutting and a brief review of the Antioch Park Master Plan, which was prepared and approved in 2003.
Over the past two years, two phases of improvements totaling approximately $2.4 million based on the master plan have been completed at Antioch Park. Phase I, which began in October 2003 and was completed in May 2005, focused primarily on the creation of improved aquatic habitat in the park’s two lakes through the removal of contaminated biomass and the construction of wetland cells to filter runoff before it reaches the lakes. This phase also involved the addition of a one-mile hiking and jogging trail, new bridges and boardwalks and a new fence and monument sign. Phase II, which began in October 2004 and was completed in July 2005, involved doubling the size of the Dodgetown play area, installing new play structures, and an additional shelter, and improving and expanding parking areas that serve the playground area. This phase also involved improving pedestrian connections to the Vietnam memorial and installing accessible restrooms in the main floor of Building A.
"Antioch Park has been a favorite of residents from throughout the metro area for nearly 50 years and with this new investment in the form of major and much-needed improvements, I believe we’ve prepared the facility to be loved by many generations to come," said Director Michael Meadors. "It’s also an important principle of our long-range plan that we upgrade and improve our existing parks and infrastructure even as we expand the District to serve newly-developed areas of the county."
Antioch Park was initially dedicated in 1958. This 44-acre park remains one of the JCPRD’s most popular, attracting 600,000 to 700,000 visitors per year. Development of the new master plan for Antioch Park and other existing JCPRD parks was a recommendation of the District’s 20-year Master Action Plan (MAP 2020).