A construction project which will add an accessible trail to the Off-Leash Dog Area in Shawnee Mission Park will begin on Aug. 13, and will result in the complete closure of the popular off-leash area. The off-leash area is projected to reopen on Saturday, Oct. 13.This project involves the construction of approximately one half mile of concrete trail between the parking lot and the existing ramp down to the dog beach area. The new trail will follow the spine of the hill, and will replace the existing wood-chipped trail.The goal of this project "is to improve ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) access to the beach," said Project Manager Megan Merryman. "In general, as an agency, we are making significant efforts to make our parks more accessible for everyone."Freeman Concrete Construction of Shawnee was the successful bidder for this project. As detailed in the contract, Freeman will have 35 calendar days to complete construction.In addition to lasting longer, concrete also has advantages in regards to maintenance and repairs. "It's easier for us in the future to have to go in and replace just a few sections of damaged concrete as opposed to having to bring in an asphalt truck again," Merryman said. "In theory, we could replace or repair damaged concrete a lot easier with a lot less disturbance to the public than asphalt."Another minor aspect of the project will involve bringing in fill dirt to improve the trail elevation at a low spot near the parking lot. Like the district's streamway trails, the new paved trail will be ten feet wide.During the scheduled closure, park staff will make additional improvements to the area, including fencing the east and west boundaries to enclose the entire off-leash area. The new fence will ultimately provide a safer area for dogs and their owners. Just a friendly reminder that in addition to being potentially hazardous to both dogs and people, entering the off-leash area during this construction closure, which also includes the parking lot, will be considered trespassing.During the closure, off-leash area patrons are encouraged to use alternative off-leash areas, including three others operated by JCPRD, and others operated by outside agencies. Other JCPRD off-leash areas are located in: Heritage Park 16050 Pflumm Road, Olathe; Thomas S. Stoll Memorial Park, 12500 W. 119th St., Overland Park; and near the Kill Creek Streamway Park access point at 33460 W. 95th St., De Soto. Other area dog parks include: Leawood Dog Park, 10601 Lee Boulevard, Leawood; and two areas operated by the city of Kansas City, Mo., in Penn Valley Park at 28th & Wyandotte St., and in Swope Park at 4701 E. Gregory Blvd.