Author Topic: A little history--the begining of SMP as a perm course and Heritage  (Read 582 times)

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Been searching for some things disc golf related on old information.  I ran across this article.  This was at a forum that many disc golfers attended (I believe myself, Ed Gonzales, Dirk Hacker were in attendance at this meeting in particular)  We had already met with the P&R about getting something moving, but this was sort of the starting point to truly look to move some DG in the public forum into the JoCo county parks.  The plans were in place at this point to get SMP as a permanent course, and to move forward with plans to get one at Heritage.  The initial map for Heritage is far from our conversations back in 2002, 2003, but the goal was a DG course and it happened.  This is why having a club in town is so important.  Organizations can share in making things happen.  As people change out of the leadership roles, there are pieces in place to help ensure things don't get lost even when they do.

We have a great club, we have a great organization, and we have many to thank.  Help be a part, do you part and represent KC Disc golf well!

Consultant suggests closing dog, horse areas at SM Park
By:Rob Roberts, Sun Staff Writer    September 25, 2003
A consultant's presentation of proposed master-plan changes for Shawnee Mission Park, 79th Street and Renner Road, on Tuesday was anything but a dog-and-pony show.

The recommendations from Land Plan Engineering, announced during a public meeting at the Tomahawk Recreation Complex in Shawnee, called for moving a popular off-leash dog area out of the 2,000-acre county park and ending the pasturing of horses in the 360-acre Oak Ridge area in the northernmost portion of the park.

Only about 50 horse-owning families and 63 horses currently use the Oak Ridge area, Doug Pickert of Land Plan Engineering told the 100 residents in attendance Tuesday, and his firm feels the area could be better used by being made accessible to the masses through development of hiking and mountain-biking trails there.

Ron Copeland, who pastures two horses at Oak Ridge, didn't disagree that the area should be opened to hikers and bikers. But he said that shouldn't preclude the pasturing of horses there.

"I'm upset that they would recommend doing away with the pasturing," Copeland said. "The horses could be confined in a fourth of the vast area they're in now, and that would allow both the trails and the horses."

Many people currently bring their children to the Oak Ridge area just to see the horses, Copeland said, adding that removing the horses would be removing one of Shawnee Mission Park's attractions.

It would also create a hardship for him personally, he said.

As a captain of the Shawnee Police Department, Copeland said, he has to live within the city of Shawnee, where Oak Ridge represents the only nearby, reasonably priced alternative for pasturing his horses.

In addition to being close to his home, the captain said, the Oak Ridge pastures afford him and other local horse lovers with quick access to the Shawnee Mission Park horse trails, which the consultants say should continue to exist, with or without the pasturing.

Horse owners pay $120 per horse per month to keep their horses at Oak Ridge, Copeland added, and those fees represent more than $80,000 in annual revenue that could be used for other improvements called for by the new master-plan recommendations.

Currently, Pickert said, there is no funding identified for any of the proposed improvements, nor will any of the improvements be set in concrete until they are acted on by the county park board, likely in December.

By then, the consultants should have cost estimates developed for the improvements they are recommending for Shawnee Mission Park, as well as Ernie Miller Nature Center and Heritage Park, both in Olathe.

Public hearings were held last spring to solicit input for new 20-year master plans for those parks, as prescribed by the county's MAP 2020 plan.

Using that input, Land Plan Engineering consultants, with input from county park and recreation officials, developed the "3 Plans for 3 Parks" recommendations that were to be presented during separate meetings for each park between Tuesday and tonight.

One piece of input that the officials didn't bite on was a suggestion last spring that Shawnee Mission Park's off-leash dog area be expanded.

According to Pickert, officials felt the dog area should be removed from the park because, among other reasons, it interferes with the prairie restoration envisioned for the area and the dog feces it generates threatens the water quality in nearby Shawnee Mission Lake.

While dog lovers may not like that development, BMX bicycling and Frisbee golf enthusiasts who spoke at the spring hearings were pleased with other recommendations announced Tuesday.

One recommendation calls for a Frisbee golf course to be developed in a large open area near the main entrance to the park, and another calls for the development of BMX racing and practice sites in the 90-acre former quarry site in the southwest corner of the park.

The master-plan recommendations call for that area to be developed as an extreme-sports complex, where elevated mountain-bike trails would be built and former quarry walls would be used for rock climbing.

Other recommendations for Shawnee Mission Park call for:

* The archery range to be moved from its current location near the southwest corner of the park to a site in the northern portion of the park, where archers would be able to face north, rather than into the sun, and where some Olympic-standard 90-meter target lanes could be included;

* The redevelopment of the multi-use trail area north of the lake with separate hiking and mountain-biking trails that would be less precipitous and, thus, less prone to washing out.

* Development of a mountain-bike trailhead and parking near the Small Lakes area to serve those using the five miles of new mountain-bike trails to be developed north of the lake;

* Rerouting and reconstruction of park roads to provide better connections between various portions of the park and to allow addition of bike lanes.

* Elimination of one of two ball fields in the Walnut Grove area to make room for a wetlands area that would stem the flow of silt running off from nearby residential development into the south end of the lake;

* Improvements to Theatre in the Park, including a new indoor rehearsal and meeting facility, a new pavilion, and expanded restroom and concession areas;

* Extensive prairie restoration; and

* Various other improvements to shelters, picnic areas and the marina area.

For full descriptions of the proposed improvements, visit

©The Johnson County Sun 2003
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Jack Lowe-
Parks Development Director for KCFDC
Multiple PDGA Worlds TD
Course Designs
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