Archive for Thursday, July 12, 2001

County to develop stream-way trail in south De Soto

July 12, 2001

The De Soto City Council has approved an agreement with the Johnson County Parks and Recreation District that will develop a mile-long stream-way trail in the southern part of the city next year.

The agreement is on the park district board's consent agenda for next week.

Under the agreement, the city would provide the easement and property for the trail that is to run along Kill Creek from 95th Street north to 87th Street.

The park district already owned the property south of Kansas Highway 10. Council member Linda Zindler has been working with the park district to secure easements from Huhtamaki and Custom Foods in the K-10 Commercial Park.

"I think this will be a wonderful recreational opportunity for the city of De Soto," Zindler told the council.

The park district will pay for the trail's construction, police protection and maintenance. Construction cost, which will include a paved parking lot at the trail's southern terminus, is an estimated $175,000, said park district land acquisition specialist Bill Maasen.

The trail, which will be open to hikers and bicycle riders, will wind its way along the creek's west bank from 95th Street, under K- 10 to 87th Street, Maasen said. Along the way, the asphalt trail will cross three bridges that span small tributaries to Kill Creek.

The agreement contains language that makes the trail's construction dependent on the Johnson County Commission's approval of the park district's 2002 general budget. But Maasen said money for the trail would be available short of the county commission demanding a complete revision of the park district's budget.

Plans call for a leash-free dog run near the 95th Street access point, Maasen said. That could be part of the stream-way trail's first phase if enough money is available from initial construction, he said.

The park will eventually link to the Kansas River by a route along Kill Creek or adjacent to Lexington Avenue, Maasen said. The park district has tentatively scheduled that expansion for 2004 or 2005, he said. The agreement allows the city to participate in that expansion.

The local trail is part of a spider web of stream-way trails envisioned in the park district's 2020 master plan. If the ambitious plan is realized, the local trail would be part of a continuous greenbelt connecting the Kansas River to Hillsdale Lake in the south and the Missouri line to the east, Maasen said.

The timing of that system's development is subject to the county commission's current budget discussion that includes a request to fund the 2020 master plan, Maasen said. The master plan calls for the county to spend an additional $16.9 million for stream-way trail land acquisition.

Less dependent on that debate is a link connecting the De Soto stream-way park to the soon-to-be-opened Kill Creek Regional Park and its trails that extend south to 127th Street. As with many things in and near De Soto, that effort is dependent on the future of the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant, Maasen said.

Kill Creek flows out of the new regional park northwest into Sunflower. The park district's plan has been to eventually expand Kill Creek Regional Park with the addition of Sunflower property adjacent to the creek.

The agreement Oz Entertainment Co. negotiated with the federal government last year would deed 1,700 acres to the park district. That property, and 30 acres the park district recently acquired near Sunflower Quarry from the Harry Darby estate, would link the regional park to the De Soto stream-way park. However, Maasen said the park district and Oz have yet to reach a transfer agreement.

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