Jun 30

Newest expansion takes Kill Creek Streamway Park Trail to 143rd Street

Posted on June 30, 2020 at 3:05 PM by Becky Burnside

A nearly two-mile expansion of the southern portion of JCPRD’s Kill Creek Streamway Park Trail quietly opened in late May and is available for public use. 

The new portion is between 135th and 143rd streets, and has been open since Memorial Day weekend. This expansion adds 1.94 miles to this portion of the Kill Creek Streamway Trail, which now totals 5.12 miles of continuous trail from 143rd St. to the North loop in Kill Creek Park. A separate noncontiguous portion of the Kill Creek Streamway Trail runs from 111th Street through De Soto to the Kansas River.

“This section, like everything below Kill Creek Park, has a very rural feel,” said Northwest Region Parks Manager Monte Fiegel. “You won’t hear many human noises and you almost never see the back of any houses.  It’s definitely another great section if you are a nature lover, or bird watcher.”

The new portion includes one 50-foot steel bridge with a concrete deck, and one 23-foot existing concrete bridge with custom designed guardrails. This expansion also added a new trailhead at 143rd Street with a new 23-stall parking lot at a site known as the Bloch Barn, which is used by JCPRD for prairie seed processing and storage. 

JCPRD park staff served as general contractors for the new expansion, and while the trail is open, some minor items are still being addressed.

“We are urging everyone who used to park along 135th Street, to please move to 143rd Street,” Fiegel said. “Other than that, make sure you have water, enjoy your trek, and don’t forget to say hi to your friendly park staff.  Because we are still adding the final touches, it is expected that visitors may encounter maintenance staff and or equipment more frequently.”

The trailhead at 143rd Street will serve as the southeast terminus of the trail, although park officials hope to expand the trail further south along the west fork of Kill Creek to the City of Gardner’s Celebration Park. No timeframe for that expansion has been set.

Concerning another nearby JCPRD project, park officials hope the much-anticipated Russell and Helen Means Observation Tower located in Kill Creek Park, 11670 Homestead Lane, Olathe, will have a “soft opening” by mid-July with an official ribbon cutting to be set later in the year. 

This structural steel tower features a precast concrete elevator shaft as well as stairs and has heavy-duty galvanized steel screening around it. The top observation deck level is 44 feet 7 inches, and the full height of the tower is 58 feet.  In addition to great views of Kill Creek Park, its lake and remnant prairie area, when conditions are right, visitors may even be able to see buildings on the hill of the University of Kansas’ campus in Lawrence, and the Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kan.

Jun 30

Enjoy music and a movie at the Theatre in the Park

Posted on June 30, 2020 at 3:04 PM by Becky Burnside

Start planning now to attend a free 80s themed outdoor concert and movie showing in mid-August.
The event is called Evening in the Park and will include a one-and-one-half hour concert by popular 1980s tribute band the M-80s beginning at 6 p.m., followed by a showing of the iconic 80s movie, “Field of Dreams.” The event will take place on Saturday, Aug. 15, at the Theatre in the Park, which has a separate entrance at 7710 Renner Road, Shawnee. The Renner Road entrance will open at 5 p.m., and gates into the bowl will open at 5:30 p.m.
“This year’s event will be especially meaningful given what we have all gone through collectively, experiencing greater levels of social isolation, high levels of uncertainty, and major life interruptions,” said Superintendent of Culture Susan Mong. “We hope this can be a welcome break from the daily challenges we have all experienced.  We are committed to preparing the space to be safe and comfortable for our guests.”
This event is meant as an opportunity to thank the community for its ongoing engagement and support of JCPRD. Originally planned for late September 2019, Evening in the Park was postponed due to weather to the August 2020 date. 
With public safety in mind, several measures are being taken to promote physical distancing. The theater bowl will be marked with circles for family groups to gather in while practicing distancing recommended by Johnson County Health and Environment and the CDC. Concessions, including food, wine, and beer, will be available, but no food trucks will be on hand at this year’s event.  This event is free, but reservations will be required.
Watch for an article with more details in the August issue of Explore JCPRD, or visit the Evening in the Park Facebook page.
Jun 30

Registration department’s challenges include implementing new software

Posted on June 30, 2020 at 3:04 PM by Becky Burnside

Interacting with both customers and coworkers is one of his favorite aspects of working in JCPRD’s Registration and Reservations Department, says the department’s new manager. 

Paul Brugman was promoted from senior registration clerk to registration manager effective May 30.

“Paul has been the Senior Registration Clerk for three years, and has been in the Registration Department for about seven years total, bringing a wealth of knowledge to his new position as manager,” said Superintendent of Recreation Rhonda Pollard. “I’m so excited for this new chapter, as Paul has hit the road running, bringing a new vision and new energy to this critical JCPRD department.  He is also a great addition to our recreation management team and we’re all looking forward to supporting him in his new role!”

“I feel that I bring an abundance of knowledge and a new perspective on how the department can support customers and all other departments within JCPRD,” Brugman added. “I was interested in this position because I felt that it was an opportunity for me to grow within JCPRD, and it was a chance for me to lead the department that I have been a part of for seven years now.”

Brugman sees providing great customer service as one of his department’s strengths. 

“We try our best to be show a positive attitude and help every person we talk to as best we can,” he said. “I would hope that people know we are always here and willing to help.”

Several anticipated and ongoing developments are expected to bring challenges to his department, Brugman said.  

“First is that we are switching to the new recreation registration software ActiveNet this fall, and that will bring us new challenges as we move away from our current software,” he said. “My goal would be to make that transition as smooth as possible for everyone in the district, and to find new ways to be able to help our fellow employees provide the programs and services to our patrons. Registration has also moved to become a more decentralized department, and that provides challenges for us because we will be more spread out, and it will be important that we make sure we continue to communicate well with each other.”