Prairie Village still wants public’s input on community center idea — Here’s where things stand

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The Prairie Village community center idea is the subject of another public meeting this week.

The city, Johnson County Library and the YMCA on Thursday will take feedback from the public on the long-standing idea for a new Corinth Library branch co-located next to a city-owned community center.

The co-located concept means the library and the community center would operate in two separate buildings on the city’s civic campus bounded by 75th and 79th streets, and Delmar Street and Mission Road.

An example of a co-located concept in northeast Johnson County is the Merriam Community Center and the recently unveiled Merriam Plaza Library branch.

Here’s where things stand with Prairie Village’s co-located library and community center idea.

How did we get to this point?

  • In 2022, after a two-year, COVID-19 pandemic-induced hiatus, Prairie Village restarted conversations about a city-owned community center to take over the deteriorating Paul Henson YMCA.
  • A 2023 city-commissioned survey found most residents still say they would use a new community center, but that number fell from the number of residents who said the same thing in a 2019 survey.
  • Last year, the city began entering agreements with the library and the YMCA that allowed the partners to start the design process for what could become a city-owned community center and new Corinth Library branch.
  • The public input session on Thursday is part of that design process.

Is the community center idea a done deal?

  • No. The city, the library and the YMCA are in the public engagement phase of the design process.
  • The design process is anticipated to yield conceptual renderings of where exactly a city-owned community center would go on the civic campus, what amenities it would have and how much it would cost.
The Paul Henson YMCA in February 2024. Photo credit Juliana Garcia.
The Paul Henson YMCA in February 2024. Photo credit Juliana Garcia.

I live in Prairie Village and I want to vote on this. Will I have the chance to?

  • Yes. In February, the Prairie Village City Council affirmed its intent to take the community center idea and its funding to a public vote if it moves forward.
  • For at least a year now, city staff and councilmembers have discussed taking the community center idea to a public vote.
  • The city council clarified in February that their intent is to hold a public vote only if the city council wants to move forward with a city-owned community center after the design process wraps up.
  • The public input session on April 4 and the other public input sessions are all part of the design process.

I went to the public input session in January. How is April 4 any different?

  • The January public input session focused on general thoughts and feedback from community members.
  • The April 4 public input session is focused on site designs and a specific location for the co-located library and community center.
  • Attendees at this week’s session can review site designs and configurations that the partners put together based on community feedback.
  • The public input session will also present options for where the co-located library branch and community center can be built.
  • At the Jan. 25 public input session, potential locations included a south campus site where the Paul Henson YMCA currently sits and a north campus site near Shawnee Mission East.

Next steps:

  • The April 4 public input session is from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Meadowbrook Park Clubhouse, 9101 Nall Ave.
  • The public is encouraged to drop in at any point during the three-hour window.
  • A third and final public input session is scheduled for Thursday, June 20.
  • The three partners will present conceptual designs for the co-located library and community center at the June 20 public input session.

Keep reading: Texts again urge Prairie Village residents to oppose new community center

About the author

Juliana Garcia
Juliana Garcia

👋 Hi! I’m Juliana Garcia, and I cover Prairie Village and northeast Johnson County for the Johnson County Post.

I grew up in Roeland Park and graduated from Shawnee Mission North before going on to the University of Kansas, where I wrote for the University Daily Kansan and earned my bachelor’s degree in  journalism. Prior to joining the Post in 2019, I worked as an intern at the Kansas City Business Journal.