John Garland Park Reuse Plan

John Garland Park

Reuse Concept Plan
The community stakeholders envision John Garland Park as an active park and sustainability showcase that provides opportunities to improve health and wellness, support green jobs for local residents, and produce healthy food for the neighborhood.

On March 20, 2011, EPA Region 7, Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas and Oak Grove Neighborhood Association hosted a community workshop to plan for the reuse of the John Garland Park Site. Participants included neighborhood residents, community leaders, local experts, representatives from City Council, and City Parks and Recreation and Planning.

During the workshop, participants gave input regarding future uses and priorities for the site. This reuse concept plan summarizes the outcome of this workshop, in which participants shared their experience, local knowledge and ideas to identify a concept plan and strategy for positioning Garland Park as a hub of revitalization for the neighborhood.

Project Oversight
Owned by the Kansas City/Wyandotte County Unified Government (Unified Government), the John Garland Park Site operated as a landfill facility from 1972 until 1974. After the landfill’s closure, a public park was established on the southern portion of the Site. The park was part of the original plan for the landfill as a demonstration of surface reuse at sanitary landfills and was intended to serve as a neighborhood amenity. Due to community concerns about environmental health and safety, the Unified Government closed the park in the 1990's.

With oversight from EPA and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the Unified Government upgraded the landfill cap in 1993 and completed an upgrade to the landfill gas collection system in 2011. Along with these remedy improvements, EPA has evaluated site conditions to ensure the site is safe to return to recreational use.


John Garland Park Vision

Site Reuse Goals 
  • Jobs and Income Generation - Develop opportunities for income generation and jobs for local residents, building on urban agriculture efforts and interest in capitalizing on renewable energy potential.
  • Education and Knowledge Transfer - Create venues for sharing information and knowledge about the environment, site history, green energy and local food. The sties hold be a destination for learning
  • Passive Recreation Opportunities - Walk and Bike Trail to recreation opportunities at the site, such as a trail with exercise stations, volleyball court, picnic shelter, and open space for informal recreation 
  • Reuse Assessment PDF(PDF, 15MB)

Potential Future Uses

The Unified Government, neighborhood residents and community stakeholders have identified uses for the site that include recreational amenities, urban agriculture, and renewable energy initiatives.

Workshop participants prioritized uses that leverage the unique assets of the site, including the expansive view and spacious dimensions. The recommendations have been included in the conceptual site plan based on participants’ input and the site’s physical features.
  • Park Site Reuse Assessment

What's Next?

Garland Park What's Next?

Here is a list of improvements that have been completed over the past few years and also a list of improvements that are planned to be completed in the near future.


  • Replaced all exterior fencing around the upper section of the park along 5th Street and Cleveland.
  • Constructed new asphalt parking areas (one on the south end and one on the northwest corner) with gated entry features for access to the park. Both lots have spots for approximately 10 cars.
  • Installed new fencing/slats around the gas extraction wells throughout the park (approximately 15) to improve aesthetics of the park.
  • Installed a gravel walking trail (approximately 6 feet wide and 2500 feet long).
  • Removed several overgrown and dead trees around the perimeter along 5th Street.
  • Refurbished the John Garland Park sign at the corner of 5th & Cleveland.
  • Parks installed new playground equipment towards the south end of the park.
  • Painted the existing shelter house and replaced the worn/damaged concrete flooring.

To Be Completed: 

  • The futsal courts are under construction and should be completed in near future.
  • Construction of an upgraded walking trail to replace the existing gravel trail. The new trail will be constructed with a more user-friendly rubberized material.   The length is yet to be determined but will be significantly shorter than the existing track.
  • During construction of the track engineering will address the existing drainage/ponding issues near the south end of the park.
  • Installation of new picnic tables, benches and BBQ grills for the existing shelter house area.
  • We also continue to provide the required monitoring and make necessary repairs/maintenance of the gas extraction system as needed.  


A phased approach to implementation is outlined below to guide development of the park elements identified in the reuse concept plan.

In addition to site planning, the development of partnerships with institutions, agencies and organizations to provide technical assistance is critical to implement the vision. Examples of assistance needed include:

  • Site design
  • Energy evaluation (to support urban agriculture and recreational amenities)
  • Education and outreach
  • Business plan development (for tilapia farm)
  • Fundraising
  • Program development for land leasing  

A team of community leaders and EPA Region 7, including EPA’s Environmental Finance Center based out of Wichita State University, have agreed to support the Unified Government by offering implementation guidance and coordination. The Action Coalition will identify and leverage resources and sustain momentum around the park’s development to guide the implementation and vision for John Garland Park. 


The Unified Government Public Works Department is responsible for maintaining the site’s remedy under regulatory oversight from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.  

Public Works Department goals for the reuse of the site include:

  • Ensure that future site uses are compatible with landfill remedy.
  • Consider opportunities for recreation, education and demonstration projects.Identify partnership opportunities for implementation and funding of future site uses.

Remedial or regulatory activities (Unified Government, EPA, Kansas Department of Health and Environment) Completion of ambient air monitoring

Fence removal/modification

Technical review of reuse proposals
Technical review of reuse proposals

Remedy maintenance and monitoring
Technical review of reuse proposals

Remedy maintenance and monitoring
Planning activities (Action Coalition, in coordination with the Unified Government) Detailed site design

Identification of stewardship partners and potential funding opportunities
Greenhouse/fish tank design and funding
Construction and implementation activities (Project Partners, in coordination with the Unified Government) Meadow/prairie seed planting

Fruit tree planting


Dog park
Loop trail with exercise stations

Splash pad

Picnic pavilion

Informal sports field
Greenhouse/fish tank with photovoltaic installation

Baseball field