The Coffee Creek streamway trail in southern Johnson County got a 42-acre boost recently with the donation of land that will eventually become a major access point and park.
The former farm land, valued at $400,000, was donated by the Arthur and Betty Verhaeghe family of Overland Park. It is located near 167th Street and Quivira Road and sits adjacent to park land currently in development between Heritage Park and U.S. 69.
The Johnson County Park and Recreation Department already owns 161 acres of land for the Coffee Creek trail. The trail is a priority for development within the next five years, said Randy Knight, spokesman for the park department. Construction of the first 3.5 miles of trail will begin this year.
The Verhaeghe land straddles the streamway trail and will allow for a park to be built around the trailhead, Knight said. The land, about the size of Antioch Park, may eventually have a farm-themed playground, community garden and picnic shelter, in keeping with the family’s wishes to show off the land’s history.
“We are pleased to preserve some of the history of three generations of truck gardening and farming with the donation of this ground,” said family member Gordon Verhaeghe in a press release issued by the park department.
There is no timeline yet for the development of the land, Knight said. But the subject is likely to be included in the long-range plan the department is working on, he said. Streamway trails have been a priority with the department in recent planning.
“It’s a great thing,” Knight said of the donation. “It does enhance the development of all these trails when people step up to the plate,” with donations of land, he said.