LSJ Opinion

Paradise Park owners show true meaning of giving in Lee’s Summit community

Paradise Park owners Juli and Jon Ellis also are deeply involved in the community, including a partnership with Lee’s Summit Cares.
Paradise Park owners Juli and Jon Ellis also are deeply involved in the community, including a partnership with Lee’s Summit Cares. Photo provided

Jon and Juli Ellis, the owners of Paradise Park in Lee’s Summit, are one of the strongest community supporters we have at Lee’s Summit Cares.

Paradise Park is one of the premiere family activity centers in our community. The park has focused on safe fun and activities for families and youth of all ages.

Jon started his career as a teacher at the Cass County Career Center after he graduated from college. So, what prompted him to leave his teaching job, purchase 14 acres of undeveloped land and create a two-acre mini golf course on the outskirts of Lee’s Summit?

“I think the biggest thing that made me start the vision for the park was the opportunity to provide a wider variety of entertainment and recreation locally for our hometown,” he said.

Juli noted, “Jon designed every hole. He pushed the dirt and did everything. We planted thousands of shrubs and trees — more than 10,000. Jon dug the holes and I put the plants in place.”

Jon and Juli were joined by his family members and youth who helped them create “Putters Paradise.” In 2002, Paradise Park started to become a reality. And then the vision grew — bumper cars, the Edutainment Center, a game room, laser tag, and a community stage.

Paradise Park is only one example of Jon and Juli’s community involvement. They believe in this community and in giving back. Both are members of the Optimists Club of Lee’s Summit. Jon is an active member of the Lee’s Summit Rotary Club.

Paradise Park also is a member of the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce, through which Jon has been active in the Chamber’s leadership program.

Jon partnered with Weed Man’s Vic Cundiff to lead the strategic plan, “LS360,” in 2009 and five year’s worth of follow-up meetings.

Paradise Park hosts many fundraisers like “Carnival for CASA” for the local non-profit agency, and the park also has hosted other community events — including Parents University for Lee’s Summit Cares, Optimists Super Citizens events, Business to Business meetings, Lee’s Summit Chamber events and Rotary events.

Jon has been a long time supporter of Lee’s Summit Cares Business of Character sector. He was one of the initial members of this group of men and women who believe in modeling strong and good character in our community.

He offers “Teen Nights” for community youth partnering with Lee’s Summit Cafes and the SMART clubs in the school district on a monthly basis.

The Catalyst Magazine Q2, Get to Know Your CEO said about Jon: “It is in a relationship that things like kindness, generosity, humility, integrity and appreciation that matter most.”

That’s why collaboration and connection are an integral part of how Jon does business and lives life. He truly values the perspective and talents of others.

Lee’s Summit Cafes’ Community of Character Business Sector is a natural fit for Jon and Juli and Paradise Park. They believe in good character and model it in everything they do.

“We give to LS Cafres because it represents the quality of our community,” Jon said. “It consistently teaches and shares all of the positive aspects that we should work to achieve as a part of our hometown.”

Susan Coffman retired after a 35-year career in the finance industry and became a program coordinator with Lee’s Summit Cares — a non-profit community coalition dedicated to preventing youth substance use and violence by preventing risky behaviors, promoting exemplary character and empowering positive parenting — in 2006. She’s enjoyed her career change and serving the Lee’s Summit community in many ways.