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South Kansas City Golf Course Will Not Pursue Expansion Into Nearby Blue River Parkway Trails System

The clubhouse at Oakwood Country Club, Jackson County's oldest golf course.
Parris Communications
The clubhouse at Oakwood Country Club, Jackson County's oldest golf course.

The proposal to build a driving range near Oakwood Country Club's current property drew opposition from bikers, hikers and other residents.

To the delight of outdoor enthusiasts and other users of the Blue River Parkway trails in south Kansas City, Oakwood Country Club has shelved its plan to expand beyond its current boundaries.

Oakwood, the oldest country club in Jackson County, had hoped to purchase land from the county to build a driving range. But the land the club was interested in is part of the Blue River Parkway trails system south of Bannister Road near U.S. Highway 71.

“I’m really proud, not only of the mountain biking community and the hiking community, but anybody in the neighborhood and in the city that really values park land,” said Jill Erickson, the executive director of Heartland Conservation Alliance, a Kansas City-based conservation group.

Beyond a written statement released through a public relations firm, the country club wouldn’t comment.

The statement released Tuesday said in part, “Our discussions caused us to look at a number of new options, and we have landed on one that allows us to develop our tournament quality golf course without expanding outside of our existing property lines.”

Ken Block, one of the club’s co-owners, told KCUR last month: “I just want to find a solution so that both of us can continue to be good neighbors.”

Erickson got a hint of what Oakwood would decide when a scheduled meeting between her, Block and Jackson County legislators last month never materialized.

“Ken Block notified us that he was considering different strategies, and did not have something prepared to bring to the meeting,” said Erickson.

By then, Block had received a multitude of messages by area residents and trail users, expressing opposition.

“I was really glad that all of the voices were heard and the developer understood the true value of that property,” said Erickson.

Sports have an economic and social impact on our community and, as a sports reporter, I go beyond the scores and statistics. I also bring the human element to the sports figures who have a hand in shaping the future of not only their respective teams but our town. Reach me at gregechlin@aol.com.
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