A soggy day, but sunny faces as leaders break ground on Meadowbrook park, multi-family complex

Prairie Village and Johnson County officials joined leaders from VanTrust Real Estate to break ground on the development at Meadowbrook Monday.
Prairie Village and Johnson County officials joined leaders from VanTrust Real Estate to break ground on the development at Meadowbrook Monday.

As the long road to make the creation of a new 84-acre public park on part of the Meadowbrook Country Club property a reality comes to a close, the start of a new journey for the property got off to a soggy but cheerful start on Monday.

Flanked by more than 100 community leaders packed under a tent on the abandoned golf course to avoid the intermittent bouts of torrential rain, representatives of the city of Prairie Village, Johnson County government, the Johnson County Park and Recreation District and VanTrust Real Estate gathered to break ground on VanTrust’s $200 million mixed-used development and the new county park.

VanTrust Executive Vice President Rich Muller, who helped spearhead the planning and facilitation of the project, noted that the collaboration of eight separate government and business entities as well as immense public participation — Muller estimated that some 800 citizens had provided feedback of some type in the planning process — made the undertaking unique.

“Maybe most importantly, the park that’s being created by the project will forever preserve an immense amount of public green space for generations to come,” Muller said.

That public space will include approximately three miles of biking and walking trails, destination playgrounds, pavilions for picnics and parties, a grand lawn that could be the site of future community events, as well as sports courts and equipment throughout. And, after a long and contentious debate among the Johnson County parks board last week, it appears the Meadowbrook clubhouse will be razed and replaced by a new $3.8 million activity center.

As for the private portion of the development, VanTrust will begin construction of the 280-unit luxury multi-family complex on the eastern portion of the land next month. That facility is expected to be completed in May 2018. The company has not announced a tentative timeline for the start of work on the other parts of the private development, including the 330-unit senior living community, a 50-room inn with 5,000 square feet of retail space, and the 53 single family homes and 70 townhome units.

Horizontal improvements — including the construction of the new roads that will service the park and private development — will begin immediately and are expected to be completed by this November.

A rendering of the multi-family complex planned for the Meadowbrook site.
A rendering of the multi-family complex planned for the Meadowbrook site.
"None of us would be here for this ceremony without a spirit of cooperation," Prairie Village Laura Wassmer told the crowd.
“None of us would be here for this ceremony without a spirit of cooperation,” Prairie Village Laura Wassmer told the crowd.