Johnson County park officials plan to ask the public to help name the new activity center under construction at Meadowbrook Park in Prairie Village.
The Park & Recreation District’s board on Wednesday asked Commissioner Nancy Wallerstein, who lives in Prairie Village, to head up the public input process over the next month or two and come back with three recommendations.
The decision came after board members indicated they couldn’t agree on some names suggested by staff, including naming the building a center, manor, lodge or vista.
Jill Geller, the district’s executive director, said those names could accommodate the potential addition of a donor’s name in the future. Alternatively, staff also suggested the Meadowbrook Park Center.
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Commissioner Steve Baru and County Commissioner Steve Klika, who sits on the board, supported asking nearby residents for suggestions, which Klika said proved useful when he served on the Blue Valley school board.
“Any time we named a school, we brought the community in,” he said. “They felt they had ownership in it.”
Alternatively, Commissioner Mike Pirner suggested just renaming it the Meadowbrook Park Clubhouse, as the building is replacing the former Meadowbrook Golf & Country Clubhouse.
Wallerstein said she had yet to speak with staff to plan how the input would be gathered, a process that could include local meetings, mailings to Prairie Village residents or online surveys.
“What we want is for people to think globally on what to call it,” Wallerstein said.
Residents who might consider naming the building after a person or family should be aware of the park district’s restrictions.
The person or family being honored must have made a significant financial contribution to the project or the district itself and made the contribution contingent on having something named after them. Alternatively, the board can name something after a community leader who is considered to have made “significant civic contributions” and given productive support to the park district.
Because the project is being paid for with publicly sold bonds, there are additional restrictions on how much financial donations the honored person or family would be required to give, Geller said.
Meadowbrook Park is scheduled to open next year.
In other business:
▪ The board gave preliminary approval to the district’s 2018 budget. The $59 million spending plan, which goes into effect Jan. 1, represents a 5 percent increase from the current year’s budget. That increase includes a $487,000 boost to the district’s 15-year comprehensive “legacy” plan to maintain and expand the district’s system of parks and trails.
Pirner voted against the budget, saying he didn’t object to particular items in the spending plan but that he didn’t think it should grow faster than the combination of inflation and county population growth, which totaled 2.65 percent.
Klika said being able to generate additional money when the economy is healthier could reduce strain on the legacy plan during financial slowdowns.
The district will hold a public hearing and final vote on the budget in August.
▪ Before the meeting, board members toured the new Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center, which is being built in the former King Louie building at 8788 Metcalf Ave. in Overland Park.
The center, which will include a history museum, a theater, art studio space, a children’s play area and community meeting rooms, is expected to open on June 10.
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