Joco Opinion

Park, housing could improve Johnson County

Officials have unveiled commendable plans to build a public park and new housing on the site of the Meadowbrook Golf and Country Club in Prairie Village.

The two biggest priorities now: Provide adequate funds to produce a highly usable 94-acre park and make sure the residential development proceeds smoothly.

Public hearings are scheduled in early March, and leaders of the project need to listen to the ideas and possible concerns of Johnson Countians.

Park amenities must serve the needs of residents and visitors. That should include already announced walking trails, small lakes and a community center. But what else do people want to see?

As for housing, VanTrust Real Estate — which owns the golf club land — needs to fulfill early proposals to place townhomes, apartments and single-family homes on parts of the property near the planned park. A senior living center also is possible.

The big unknown at this point is whether the proposed housing will create enough tax revenue to pay for the attractions that public officials want for the park. The financing plan needs to be locked down and made clearer, especially because Prairie Village Mayor Laura Wassmer has stated “there will be no tax increases” for the park.

The golf club — generally bounded by 91st and 95th streets, and Nall and Roe avenues — is a prime redevelopment site in the older core of Johnson County.

That puts pressure on VanTrust, Prairie Village and the Johnson County Park & Recreation Department to produce a project that will bring a higher quality of life to the northeast part of the county.