The Johnson County Board of Park and Recreation Commissioners approved 2020 capital projects and a proposed five-year capital improvement plan (CIP) for the Johnson County Park and Recreation District during its regular monthly meeting conducted Nov. 20 in Shawnee Mission Park.
During the six-year period from 2020 to 2025, $32 million is planned in improvements to parks and trails throughout the district, and just under $45 million is being earmarked for JCPRD’s Mid-America and Mid-America West sports complexes (MASC & MAWSC) located in Shawnee. Improvements include installation of synthetic turf, lighting, concessions, restrooms, walkways, and security cameras. These improvements will take place in a phased approach over the next six years.
“Over the last six months the Board of Park and Recreation Commissioners have been working with the Johnson County citizens and staff at prioritizing identified capital projects,” said JCPRD Executive Director Jeff Stewart. “In just the last three years, JCPRD has opened three new parks (Lexington Lake Park, Big Bull Creek Park, Meadowbrook Park) to the Johnson County community with a fourth (Cedar Niles Park) scheduled for first phase development in 2020. Additionally, JCPRD continues to develop and expand streamway parks (Coffee Creek, Camp Branch, Kill Creek), recognizing that trails continue to be a top priority for the community. Heavy use and deteriorating conditions at the sports complexes has triggered the decision to reinvest in these popular facilities that serve hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. The improvements planned for MASC and MAWSC will greatly improve playing conditions, safety, accessibility, and visitor experiences.”
“The Mid-America Sports Complex has been a significant generator of positive economic impact for our community and all communities in Johnson County for more than 20 years,” said Visit Shawnee Executive Director Kevin Fern. “This investment will restore it as the premier softball and baseball facility in the heartland and will draw tournaments from throughout the nation and region whose attendees stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants, and shop in our cities. We are looking forward to capturing even more of the multi-billion-dollar and ever-expanding sports market.”
The improvement plans at MASC and MAWSC are largely in response to a report earlier this year from Kansas City-based Clark Enersen Partners which recommended major modernizing and improvements at these two sites as well as at the Heritage Soccer Park, Heritage Football Complex, and Heritage Softball Complex.
MASC was constructed in 1991 by a private development group and was purchased by JCPRD in 1994. Similarly, MAWSC was privately constructed in 1994 and purchased by JCPRD in 2002. Although there has been ongoing maintenance at both sites since their purchase, there has been minimal capital improvements to the complexes.
Non-sports-related projects proposed in the five-year capital plan include: $7.9 million for development and expansion of trails in Heritage Park, Big Bull Creek, and the Coffee Creek Streamway Park; and an average of about $490,000 per year in land acquisition for parks and trails between 2020 and 2025; $1.4 million for phase 2 improvements at Meadowbrook Park in 2021 and 2023, including additional parking, picnic shelter, playground, and tennis courts; $1.2 million for an additional park police substation in 2023; $4.4 million for dredging of Heritage Park Lake in 2022; $1.6 million in Shawnee Mission Park Marina building improvements in 2021; $4.3 for ADA improvements at the Theatre in The Park in Shawnee Mission Park in 2023; and $1 million for replacement and ADA improvements at the Roeland Park Sports Dome in 2022.
In addition to the CIP, just over $32 million will be utilized for JCPRD ongoing capital replacement efforts, which include ADA improvements, shelter and playground replacements, trail and walkway improvements, and bridge replacements, during this same six-year time frame.
Capital projects approved and slated for 2020 include parking and ADA access at Ernie Miller Park, renovations to accessible dock facilities at Shawnee Mission, Heritage, and Kill Creek parks, installation of security camera systems, court flooring replacement at MAWSC’s Okun Fieldhouse, and work on four of the softball fields at MASC.
Near the end of each year, the district board reviews and approves the CIP for the coming year.