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Dec 01

Check out JCPRD’s new holiday decoration in Shawnee Mission Park

Posted on December 1, 2021 at 12:54 PM by Becky Burnside

The flagpole near the Renner Road entrance to Shawnee Mission Park has been transformed into a 60-foot tree-shaped holiday decoration.

The decoration sits in the center of the John Barkley Plaza, which was dedicated on April 24 of this year in honor of JCPRD’s first superintendent. The lights, which are activated by a photocell, will be on dusk through dawn during the holiday season.

“When the John Barkley Plaza was under construction, Special Events Coordinator Katy Renner suggested that we do a holiday display,” explained Executive Director Jeff Stewart. “Her idea was well received with all agreeing that having the seasonal display would be a wonderful addition to the newly developed space and as a welcome mat into Shawnee Mission Park. We had hoped to do something last year, but the lead time to order the materials proved to be too tight. There was thought that this could become an annual tradition. We are planning on having the lighting ceremony again next year.” 

The ceremony he mentions was a small gathering which took place on Nov. 16 prior to a meeting of the Johnson County Board of Park and Recreation Commissioners. 

The flagpole decoration is a custom-made apparatus which includes 3,000 white led lights strung on 45 airplane cables. The decoration took about a month to construct and about four hours for park staff to install it this first time.  

Holiday Tree Installation

“We probably make something similar every two or three years, but this is a rather large one with a 60-foot ground hoop,” said “Hoot” Mann, whose Independence, Mo., firm built the decoration. “We light up trees like this one throughout the Midwest, but 60-foot flagpoles; you don’t see a lot of them floating around.”

Mann also noted that with each light pulling in less than half a watt each, it can honestly be said the new tree is “green” and energy saving as well as festive. 

We look forward to having our patrons enjoy this festive addition for many years to come.

Stewart said the tree has been well-received so far. 

“There have been several park visitors enjoying the display already,” he said. “I even noticed a picture on social media recently of the ‘Polar Bear Cross Country Runners’ posed for a picture in front of the tree following their evening run.”

Holiday Tree at Shawnee Mission Park