Prairie Village residents get a glimpse of plans for new North Park
Prairie Village residents are enthusiastic about the design for the new North Park, which will include a formal garden, playgrounds, bocce courts and — crucially — year-round restrooms.
Planners are putting the finishing touches on the design for the 3-acre neighborhood park at 67th Street and Roe Avenue, on land where Faith Lutheran Church stood for more than six decades. The City Council is expected to review the final design Dec. 17.
“We love the idea of the park, and we hope it’s a really well-used space. I want it busy all the time,” said Alexis Kuklenski, who brought her three sons — ages 7, 4 and 2 — to a meeting Tuesday night to get public feedback on the plans.
“It’s a good plan for the future, for all ages.”
While 7-year-old Olin said he was most excited about a playground zipline feature, Alexis Kuklenski said the heated restrooms are something she really appreciates. The family lives about a half mile from the new park location.
“This would be our closest park, and our closest park with a bathroom,” Kuklenski said. Her children love McCrum Park, but it lacks that amenity.
“We go to McCrum often,” she said, “and we might only be there two minutes after school before someone has to go to the bathroom.”
Prairie Village City Administrator Wes Jordan and Ward 1 City Councilman Chad Herring agreed that heated restrooms are more in demand as new parks come on line.
The site will also include picnic shelters, playground areas suitable for infants and children up to age 12, an open grassy area large enough for informal soccer games, plus a 40-space parking lot.
Kyle Warta brought his 2-year-old daughter Delaney to Tuesday night’s meeting to see what’s on tap. They live just two blocks from the site.
“I think the concepts are good,” Warta said of the two different play areas, one geared for ages 2 to 5 and the other for ages 5 to 12. “It’s nice to get something on the north side of Prairie Village. You see so many kids in this area.”
For adults, there will be bocce ball courts and a formal garden with annuals and perennials that will be maintained by Johnson County Extension Office gardeners.
“We are really excited about this opportunity to partner with the Master Gardeners,” said Scott Bingham, a landscape architect with BBN Architects, the design firm on the project.
The city bought the church property for $1.1 million and the structure was demolished this summer. The city had hoped to incorporate the church steeple into the park features, but after the rest of the church was torn down, the steeple was deemed to be too unstable and also had to be removed.
However, the design calls for a historical marker and plaque, with nearby seating, to commemorate the church.
Some residents have expressed concerns about a drainage channel behind the property that can fill with water in heavy rains and possibly pose a hazard if children wander into the area.
Herring, who represents the ward where the park will be located, said plans currently call for using barrier plants to keep people away from the channel, although fencing is also an option. City staffers are still reviewing the best approach, he said.
The project, including church demolition and park construction, is budgeted to cost about $1 million. The design is expected to meet that budget.
City officials hope construction can begin early next spring and be completed by late summer.