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Nov 05

New playgrounds in place in Shawnee Mission, and Mill Creek Streamway parks

Posted on November 5, 2018 at 4:32 PM by Becky Burnside

As part of ongoing efforts to replace and upgrade older playgrounds in JCPRD parks, both Shawnee Mission Park and the Mill Creek Streamway Park have shiny new playgrounds.

The new playground at Shawnee Mission Park’s Shelter #8, located near the southwest corner of the park’s main lake opened in late September, and a new playground at the Northwoods Access Point to the Mill Creek Streamway Park opened Oct. 31.

Both playgrounds are close to the same size as the one they replaced, are designed for ages five through 12, and include a pour-in-place safety surface.

The new Shawnee Mission Park Shelter #8 playground includes: two xylophone-style instruments; drums; four slides; a Netflex climbing element; and other play equipment with names like Boogie Board, Blender Spring, and Wiggle Knot Bridge.

Project Manager Megan Merryman said park maintenance staff requested this new playground be designed in such a way that once a child got on the play equipment, they could go across the playground without ever touching the ground.

“They wanted it to be like the hot lava game,” she said. “So basically, once you get on the playground, you can get all the way across and you don’t really have to get off the equipment unless you’re done playing or you want to get to the instruments. I did try it myself and it is possible.”

New equipment at the Northwoods Access Point Playground includes a NetFlex climbing component, wiggle knot bridge, one slide, and a TightRope Bridge. The existing swings were left as part of the playground, but did not get the pour-in-place surface beneath them. 

For this playground, maintenance staff requested the inclusion of some natural-looking elements.

“We added these stepping stones that are supposed to look like wood and a balance beam that is meant to look like a log,” Merryman said. “They’re not wood; it’s man-made material.”

Shawnee Mission Park is located at 7900 Renner Road, Shawnee and Lenexa. The Northwoods Access Point is located at 1700 Northgate St. east of Woodland, Olathe.

Oct 31

Two youth camps, Friendsgiving, and more among JCPRD’s Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving week programs

Posted on October 31, 2018 at 10:02 AM by Becky Burnside

Turkeys and time off from school or work are two things that are frequently associated with Thanksgiving.

This November, JCPRD is offering a number of Thanksgiving week and Thanksgiving-themed programs (including some with turkey references in their names) to help you take advantage of time off. 

Programs include: two Mad Science© camps, three Kids’ Day Out sessions, a new gymnastics special event, a storytime session, and several special events.

While many of the programs on this list are for youth, some are for families, 50 Plus, or all ages. Most of them require advance registration.

Wednesday, Nov. 14

Thursday, Nov. 15

Saturday, Nov. 17

Monday, Nov. 19

Tuesday, Nov. 20

Wednesday, Nov. 21

Tuesday, Nov. 27
Oct 31

Construction begins on new observation tower in Kill Creek Park

Posted on October 31, 2018 at 9:58 AM by Becky Burnside

Not only will visitors get some great views of the lake and the park, but on clear days they may even be able to see some more distant landmarks once a new Observation Tower being built in Kill Creek Park is complete.

JCPRD officials anticipated issuing a notice to proceed with construction of the project during the first week of November, with completion tentatively expected in summer 2019. The successful bidder on the project is Loyd Builders Inc. of Ottawa, which was selected from among eight bidders for the $1.5 million contract.

The architectural style of the tower is probably its most unique feature, according to Project Manager Bill Leek.

“It will be structural steel with a precast concrete elevator shaft to provide access to the top level,” Leek explained. “The top observation deck level will be 44 feet 7 inches, and the full height of the tower will be 58 feet. It will have heavy-duty galvanized steel screening around it. You can see through it a little bit, and there will be occasional openings that people can look through. There will actually be four levels that the elevator can stop at, including the top level.” 

The tower, which will also have stairs to the top, has been in planning for nearly two years, and will be located just east of where the house previously stood in the park.

“From that location, they’ll be able to see a long way out, and you’ll be able to see the lake (at Kill Creek Park), different parts of the remnant prairie, and the park,” Leek said. “They’ll have a view that is approximately 270-degrees from southeasterly all the way around the west and then back to the north and northeasterly a little bit.” 

He added that 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, Kansas.

The tower project will also include a driveway and parking area immediately north of the tower, a water fountain, benches, and connecting walkways.

“We will also be building some new trail extensions to connect this tower to existing trails to the west, including the trail that goes over to the virgin prairie,” Leek said.

At least 30 days before the observation tower opens to the public, staff anticipates recommending that the Johnson County Board of Park and Recreation Commissioners consider naming the new structure the Russell and Helen Means Observation Tower. This would honor the original landowners of Kill Creek Property who donated 355 acres of the 640 acre property, provided an installment purchase agreement for the acquisition of the remaining 285 acres, and willed assets now valued at approximately $1 million from their estate for improvements at the Kill Creek Park property which benefit the public. That funding is being used towards the observation tower.

Kill Creek Park is located at 11670 Homestead Lane, Olathe.