For the second day in a row Wednesday, hundreds of northeast Johnson County community members streamed through the Meadowbrook Country Club clubhouse, examining posterboards and fact sheets summarizing the conceptual plans for a new 88-acre park and mixed-residential development on the property.
We caught up with several attendees as they explored the stations and strolled the grounds to find out what they think of the proposal.
Jim Lee, with granddaughter Lucy
Jim Lee has lived in the Round Hill neighborhood just northwest of the property since 1974, and spent a quarter of a century as a member of the country club. He came to Tuesday’s open house as well and took some time to walk the course he used to love playing.
“It’s sad in some ways,” he said. “It brought back a lot of memories. But the golf game is a tough business.”
Lee recalls when the membership held a vote on whether to sell the property to the company that is now called VanTrust five years ago. He was one of the few members who wanted to sell to the county’s Parks and Recreation department back them.
“You knew it had to come to an end at some point,” he said. “It wasn’t going to last forever.”
But when word broke that a large part of the Meadowbrook property could become a park under a deal hatched between Prairie Village, Johnson County and VanTrust, Lee couldn’t think of a better outcome. His son’s family lives close to the property as well. He likes the idea that his grandchildren, like 17-month old Lucy, who he was playing with on the practice putting green Wednesday, will have a large green space near by.
“It’s a pretty outstanding deal,” he said.
And for himself, he’s got some ideas for park features he’d like to see.
“Pickleball courts,” he said. “It’s a coming thing. I can still get out there and play pickleball, even though I’m not great on the tennis court any more.”
Bryon, Erica and Carol Deen
The Deen family had some reservations when they heard Meadowbrook was closing. And while they like the idea of a new park within walking distance of their house, they have some concerns.
Bryon and Carol are worried that there will be more traffic in the area, and that the increase may necessitate a new traffic light on Nall at the turn-in to the new residential area. And Bryon thinks it’s too bad the golf course is going away.
“They could keep it a public course,” he said. “It’s a shame to tear it up.”
But they can see the benefits of the new park as well. Their daughter Erica is excited about the idea of a large playground nearby. She loves the idea of a gazebo for community gatherings. And the whole family is excited about the possible return of an area tradition: Fourth of July Fireworks.
“They used to do them every year at Meadowbrook, and you could see them from the neighborhood,” Bryon said. “That’d be great to have them back.
Lucy and Kim Jones
When Kim Jones heard Meadowbrook was closing, she only knew one thing for certain: She didn’t want it to turn into a debacle like the Mission Chateau proposal on the Mission Valley Middle School site.
So when she saw the proposal for a new park, she was excited. And understandably so: With four active kids and a husband who loves to run, the prospect of green space and new running trails just down the street from her house was a major boon. Her daughter Lucy is especially hopeful that they’ll include soccer fields in the mix of park features.
“I like the idea that you could send them down the block to practice or just kick the ball in a net,” Kim said. ”
Kim said she had some concern about an increase in traffic on Rosewood, where she lives in the house she grew up in and bought from her parents. But she didn’t have any trouble with the proposed residential developments.
Alexis Ceule is a well known figure around the Round Hill neighborhood. And she doesn’t envision moving far away anytime soon. In fact, she says, the move she’s most likely to consider making is into the residential areas planned for the new Meadowbrook development.
“[The housing] isn’t a concern at all, it’s an enticement,” she said. “I want to move over here!”
Ceule said she was impressed by the integration of the parkland and the housing developments, and thinks the area will bring people from a range of ages together.
“I like that it’s multigenerational,” she said. “There’ll be kids here, grandparents here. I think it’s a beautiful vision.”