Commissioners OK Heritage Trust funding of 11 projects


Funding from the Johnson County Heritage Trust Fund was authorized Thursday, Aug. 16, by the Johnson County Board of Commissioners (BOCC) for 11 historical projects in six cities.

Recommendations for $198,445 in 2012 funding were presented to the Board by the Trust Fund’s Grant Review Board, which reviewed requests involving 14 applications seeking $315,241. Three of the funded projects were in Shawnee, another two in Olathe, and one each in the cities of Lenexa, Fairway, Gardner, and Leawood. Two projects were countywide.

Three requests for funding were denied by the Grant Review Board, including a request from the Overland Park Historical Society which unsuccessfully appealed that decision Thursday to the BOCC. The historical group sought $30,000 to support the hiring of an experienced firm to build and install an exhibit in downtown Overland Park about the history of the city. The Grant Review Board was not supportive of the project, citing the organization lacked “adequate facilities to house an exhibit of (such) magnitude.” The group was advised to reapply for Heritage Trust funding for the proposed exhibit with a more suitable location in its future application.

Six projects received full funding, including $50,000 for the second phase of work to renovate the West Building for public use at the Shawnee Indian Mission, 3403 West 53rd Street. It is the final building to be renovated at the historic site in Fairway.

The Olathe Historical Society was earmarked its full application for $34,500. The funds will be used to produce a 15-minute documentary of “The Flying Jayhawks,” telling the history of the Olathe Naval Air Station, a military base that operated from 1942 to 1970.  The site is now the New Century AirCenter. The film will be included in volume two of the Olathe-The City Beautiful DVD series consisting of 20 short documentaries about the city’s history.

Another Olathe project, garnering $36,500 in Heritage Trust funds, will expand and enhance the educational programs at the Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm Historic Site, 1100 Kansas City Road.

Both countywide projects also were given their full application requests. One was for $4,510 to purchase and install a marker or monument within Heritage Park, 16050 Pflumm Road,   and to purchase and install road signs in Johnson County.  The project will commemorate the route the Potawatomi Indians took in the county in 1838 during their forced removal from Indiana and relocation near Osawatomie. The Potawatomi Trail of Death has been named a Regional Historic Trail. The request was made by the Johnson County Park and Recreation District which operates Heritage Park.

The other county project also involves signs. The Kansas City Area Historic Trails Association requested $3,700 to replace damaged or missing signs marking the historical trails and military road through Johnson County.

The Wornall/Majors House Museums, Inc., 8201 State Line Road, Kansas City, Mo., received $20,000 to reconstruct the retaining wall at the Alexander Majors House. The existing wall restricts the line of sight to approximately 70 feet for drivers exiting the driveway.  Current standards recommend a line of sight of 335 to 430 feet. State Line cuts through the Majors House property and the dangerous area is located in Leawood. Aside from improving the line of sight, the project will prevent future erosion and runoff at the historic site.

Five applications for Heritage Trust funds were partially funded, including two projects at Shawnee Town 1929, 11501 West 57th Street. A request $25,000 was trimmed $15,000 to develop interpretative planning for seven town spaces. Friends of Shawnee Town applied for $25,900 to promote the grand opening celebration of the 1929 truck farm/historic site in the spring of 2013. The group was awarded $10,000 of its request.

A third project also was in Shawnee. It was an application by Johnson County Museum, 6305 Lackman Road, to create a temporary exhibit featuring the history and development of Johnson County’s modern residential and commercial architecture that was created in the last half of the 20th Century. The Museum requested $15,234. The Heritage Trust Grant Review Board recommended $12,735 in funding.

The other two partially-funded requests included:
•    $3,000 to the Gardner Historical Museum to produce a “Walk and Talk with the Public” program involving a new walking tour brochure of historic sites in Gardner as well as designing and erecting two signs on the museum grounds, 203 West Main Street. The museum’s request sought $3,334.
•    $7,500 to the Monticello Community Historical Society to replace the original two air conditioners and two furnaces from 1975 with new more energy efficient equipment at the Monticello Historical Station, 23860 West 83rd Street, Lenexa. The historical group applied for $10,473.

The Johnson County Heritage Trust Fund was created in 1991 to help preserve the heritage and history of the county. Revenue for the fund is derived from a portion the county’s mortgage registration fee that exceeds the $100,000 the county is required to contribute to the Kansas Heritage Trust Fund.

On Thursday, the resolution for the 11 projects for 2012 funding by the Heritage Trust Fund was authorized by the BOCC with no changes to the recommendations from the Grant Review Board.  The vote was 6-1 with Commissioner Michael Ashcraft dissenting. He supported the funding recommendations as presented, but made a motion to use unallocated funds from the Heritage Trust Fund to develop a “strategic planning effort” for future recommendations/decisions involving the trust fund. His motion did not receive a second and was not considered by BOCC in its vote of approval.


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