Public gets a chance to explore — and dream about — Meadowbrook park space

A biker took the opportunity to explore the Meadowbrook trails during Monday's open house.
A biker took the opportunity to explore the Meadowbrook trails during Monday’s open house.

A couple meandered along a walking path under the canopy of a row of huge trees. A father clipped on a trailer to the back of his bicycle and took his little one for a ride over gently rolling hills. Families packed on top of bales as a tractor pulled them for an early fall hayride.

For one September afternoon, at least, northeast Johnson County got a chance to see what it might be like to have a swath of beautiful green space open to the public.

On Monday, Johnson County Park and Recreation District held an open house on the property of the former Meadowbrook Country Club as it sought to inspire ideas for how the new 88-acre public park there might be used (assuming the plan isn’t vetoed by the Shawnee Mission School District).

Executive Director Jill Geller said that between the early comments she had heard Monday and the input the district had received at another open house in March, a few clear priorities were starting to emerge.

“I’ve heard a lot of green space,” she said. “People love the green space and trails. Hopefully that’s what we’ll see.”

Geller and her team will be taking the comments they’ve received over the course of the past several months and crafting a preliminary parks programming plan for the site, which they will share with the public at another open house in October. The plan will then go to the parks board for review in November and brought back for a final vote in December after revisions. Johnson County Park and Recreation will also share the programming plan with the Prairie Village City Council in November.

Geller said that plans for renovating the clubhouse to create a community center would not be included in those plans, as the district is still determining what state the building is in and what kinds of facilities would work well there.

But the opportunity to move forward with programming for the green space part of the property has been exciting, she said.

“We’re just thrilled that the public is so excited about this project,” Geller said. “I mean, the attendance both in March and tonight shows there’s a huge interest for this. And we couldn’t be happier.”

Kids enjoyed yard games set up on a former fairway of the golf course.
Kids enjoyed yard games set up on a former fairway of the golf course.