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First Public Input Opportunity on New Oakridge Farm Master Plan is Oct. 21
POSTED: 09/27/2006
An initial public opportunity for input on a new master plan for the Oakridge Farm property adjacent to Shawnee Mission Park has been set for Saturday, Oct. 21 and will take the form of free public hayrides.

The 363-acre Oakridge Farm property is a roughly J-shaped property adjacent to Shawnee Mission Park's north side. The property is the home of the historic Mack House, which was built in the 1940s. A portion of the property is also currently the site of the Oakridge Stable horse boarding operation.

The purpose of the master planning project, as stated in the Johnson County Park and Recreation District's initial request for proposals, is: "to determine appropriate feasible use(s) for an existing park estate house and to develop a new master plan for the Oakridge Farm within Shawnee Mission Park that incorporates the selected appropriate use."

The Oct. 21 event will involve hayrides lasting about 20 minutes each, which will be offered from 10 a.m. to noon. In case of inclement weather, the hayrides will take place on Oct. 28.

Parking for the hayrides will take place near the Mack House. Because the Midland Drive entrance to Ogg Road is temporarily closed for repairs, the site can only be reached through Shawnee Mission Park. Participants can enter through either the 7900 Renner Road or the 87th Street entrances and should proceed to the intersection of 79th and Ogg Road on the north side of the lake just east of the park's marina parking lot. Visitors should proceed north up the hill, where at the top they'll see a sign for Oakridge Stables. Immediately after this sign, they should turn left and proceed approximately one mile down a gravel road to the Mack House.

Accompanying each hayride group will be a member of the JCPRD planning staff, or a member of the consulting team of Patti Banks Associates of Kansas City, Mo., who were hired in mid-August to complete the planning process.

"They'll try to give comments during the hayrides and point out the views and what makes the area unique," said JCPRD Park Planner Megan Merryman.

Participants will also be able to discuss the project with a member of the consulting team and view maps of the property under a tent which will be set up near the Mack House. While the public will not be able to enter the house during this event, they will be able to walk around the historic residence and discuss possible uses for the building with Architect Susan Richards Johnson, who is a member of the planning team for this project. Participants will also be able to give written input through comment cards.

Additional public input sessions are planned for Wednesday, Nov. 1, Tuesday, Nov. 2, and Thursday, Nov. 9. On these dates, open houses about the Oakridge property will take place from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the Boardroom of the Shawnee Mission Park Administration Building, located near the park's 7900 Renner Road entrance. Visitors will be able to participate in a charette, which Merryman described as "a visual conversation," and discuss their ideas with Patti Banks and her team. A final presentation is tentatively anticipated during the Board’s March 2007 meeting.

The Johnson County Park and Recreation District’s 2007 Capital Improvement Plan includes $100,000 to begin implementation of the new master plan. In addition, the nonprofit Friends for Parks and Recreation group has committed the proceeds of its initial fund-raising efforts towards the Oakridge Farm renovations with the Mack House as a priority.

For more information on the Oakridge Farm Master Plan, call Park Planner Megan Merryman at (913) 894-3345.

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