Tour the new Meadowbrook Park in Prairie Village
When the old Meadowbrook Country Club closed, its 136-acre golf course could easily have become yet another Prairie Village subdivision.
But thanks to a deal between the city and real estate company VanTrust, most of that land will now be a county park, with a clubhouse, “destination playground,” sledding hill and other amenities. The grand opening of Meadowbrook Park is set for Saturday.
For years, Johnson County has been building and improving parks in newly developed areas far to the south and west. But not so much in older, established neighborhoods like this spot south of 91st Street and Nall Avenue.
“It’s unique in the sense that we’re here in the northeast part of Johnson County,” said Jeff Stewart, the county’s deputy parks director. “It’s very difficult to find large pieces of property, of green space.”
VanTrust bought the 18-hole golf course in 2010 and talked to the city about keeping 60 percent for estate homes and turning the rest into a park.
At the urging of city officials, the developer flipped that ratio: Just 40 percent of the land would be used for homes — denser and smaller than originally planned, with twin villas, apartments and a senior living facility in addition to some single-family homes framing the park.
The city bought the remaining 82 acres from VanTrust for $5.9 million and turned it over to the Johnson County parks district. About $5 million more was paid for a trail and other improvements.
Saturday’s park opening is the culmination of years of construction, which has been at times rocky, delayed by rain, a spillway that had to be redone and complications for the sewer system.
“We loved that country club, went there for years and years and years,” said Cindy Kerwin of Leawood. “It had a great new pool and tennis courts and all that. To see that closed down, that was kind of bittersweet. But now it’s open to the public, and so we can all enjoy it again.”
The park will include a sledding hill nicknamed “Mount Meadowbrook,” the Tree Line Adventure playground, ponds, pickleball courts, an outdoor pavilion, senior exercise area and a trail system. The clubhouse is available to rent for private events. Also indoors: a multipurpose room and a preschool program. Fitness classes started there earlier this month.
“I think it’s just going to bring a whole new revitalization to this area,” said Jennie Clark, who lives nearby and says she walks her dog there every day. “It’s so exciting to see people out here walking on the trails and riding their bikes and the kids on the playground.”
The grand opening ceremony runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at 9101 Nall Ave., with the ribbon cutting at 10:30. There will be tours of the park and clubhouse, arts and crafts, food and music.