Archive for Thursday, June 5, 2008

Heritage farm among ideas advanced at Rieke Lake site workshop

June 5, 2008

Derrick Rieke admitted a special interest drew him to the workshop the Johnson County Park District and its contract architect Bowman Bowman Novick Inc. had Monday evening at the De Soto Community Center.

The interest is revealed in the purpose of the workshop, which was collecting public comment on what to include in a master plan the architectural firm will create for what the park district calls the 465-acre Rieke Lake site on De Soto's western doorstep. When developed the site will join Kill Creek, Shawnee Mission and Heritage parks and Johnson County regional parks.

Rieke said his grandfather owned the property with his brothers. He went to family outings there as a child, often fishing in the lake he remembers stocked with bass and catfish.

But Monday was about the future, and Rieke shared the opinion of many others commenting at the workshop in advocating the site be developed as a nature park without such active uses as ball fields.

A heritage farm and trails were top popular ideas advanced at the workshop.

Denise Everhart, who lives just west of the site, was in agreement with those calling for less active development.

"No lights," she said. "It's so peaceful out there. That's why we moved there."

What she did want to see was trails, Everhart said.

Leaning over a table of aerial maps of the site, Jim Wilson, the park district's landscape architect, told an area resident that the park district was talking with Sunflower Redevelopment about the possible use of the Sunflower easement to the Kansas River that borders the east side of the site for trails linking the park with the new De Soto Riverfest Park and the Kill Creek Streamway Park.

"When the Army owned the Sunflower, the public would have never been allowed on that road," he said. "It was a guarded use.

"One of things the park district said it wants is those links. We haven't said what they should be. We don't have any money, and we're not going to take property for them."

Those unable to attend Monday's workshop can submit email comments to JCPRDcomments@bbrarchitects.com or send them to Paul Novick, 411 Nichols Road, Suite 246, Kansas City, Mo., 64112.

Bowman Bowman Novick plans a follow-up workshop in mid-July with the goal of completing the master plant in October.

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