What an exciting opportunity! Really it is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the city. I am referring to the potential purchase by the city of Prairie Village of the green space (Mission Road frontage) that is being offered for sale at Homestead Country Club.
In full disclosure I am a member of Homestead and I live on Homestead Drive just south of the club. It is certainly in my family’s best interest that the city establish a park just north of us. I would love to be able to walk my boys over to a park. Currently we have to walk to Peterson Park in Fairway or to McCrum Park on Roe Avenue.
When I really gave it some thought, the north corridor of Mission Road in Prairie Village does not have a park to call its own. The other areas of the city have either a concentration of small parks or have the benefit of a larger park such as Porter Park or Franklin Park. The land that is for sale at Homestead would offer an opportunity for a spacious park, just shy of six acres.
Let’s get back to Porter and Franklin Parks for a minute. This week I researched the real estate trends in the surrounding neighborhoods of these two palatial parks. I found that homes within a half mile radius of the parks sold for (on average) 103 percent of the original list price. Compare that to the average home in the area that is currently selling for 96 percent of the original list price. That is a 7 percent swing! Might that have something to do with the beautiful parks that these homes can brag of being within walking distance? You better believe it.
The homes surrounding Franklin Park (the city’s second largest park at 11.12 acres) sell for an average of $657,000 compared to the city average of $257,000. The subdivisions in that area such as Town and Country, West Riding, and Red Fox offer some of the most impressive homes that the city has to offer. Homeowners are willing to invest top dollar in these homes due to the fact that it is located in a highly coveted area, and Franklin Park is a big reason for that draw. Just take a look at the real estate listings in the area and you will see over and over again, “walking distance to Franklin Park.” Lastly, higher property values result in higher real estate tax revenues. Sounds like a win-win to me.
Franklin Park is constantly buzzing with joggers, baseball teams, impromptu touch football games and families enjoying the awesome playground and pavilions. Isn’t that what community is all about? In my mind, that is what makes Prairie Village so unique. Wouldn’t we want that communal setting in all parts of the city?
I revisited the Prairie Village Vision this week and the Master Plan for the Parks and Recreation Department that was adopted in 2008. Please read this excerpt from the Master Plan:
Regardless of future opportunities or intentions to increase park land in the city, it will be important to establish a Park Land Fund with which to pursue a land purchase when the opportunity arises. The under-served areas of the city do indeed warrant serious discussion for new parks and finding opportunities to expand the smaller existing parks is also an important consideration. As with other elements of the community, be it housing or commercial development, the land-locked nature of Prairie Village provides limited growth opportunities for parks. Thus, the most effective response is to focus on making the most of what is already here, and seeking to add to the park land inventory as opportunities arise in the future.
Isn’t this the growth opportunity that the city acknowledges only comes once in a lifetime?
This week we are wrapping up my son’s first year at Prairie Elementary. What a whirlwind kindergarten year that we have had. On Monday, Miss Beaudet (a legendary Prairie teacher) orchestrated an event in the Prairie Elementary garden. Miss Beaudet was one of the teachers responsible for creating the Prairie garden. She is a remarkable lady. I was fortunate to be able to man one of ten stations that Miss Beaudet had set up to reinforce what the kindergartners had learned about nature and the outdoors. You should have seen the joy on their faces as they made their way around the garden. One station was set up to make a pledge to protect our environment. Another was set up to create birdhouses to hang under some shade trees and then to lay down in the grass and admire the trees. These kids ran around smiling throughout the entire activity. For them, admiring nature is just a way of life and I strongly believe that in a world that struggles to prioritize mother earth it is our job to seize this opportunity to protect our fleeting green space for them.