By Kathy Feist
The former Spofford campus, located at 9700 Grandview Rd., is about to be transformed into a 29-acre villa complete with a 9-hole per Par 3 golf course, 16 stucco villas, four cabins and other amenities. The villas will be available for homeownership while the cabins can be rented by members of the Oakwood Country Club.
The Villas at Oakwood, much like its counterpart Oakwood Country Club, butts up to Jackson County’s Blue River Trails Parkway on its west side. That has neighbors and conservationists concerned.
“Stormwater runoff along with fertilizer will drain into the trail’s creeks,” explains Malia Hatley whose 5-acre property sits adjacent to the Villas. “This is harmful to the animals and the creek beds.”
With a decrease in woods that help soak up stormwater and an increase in impervious surface, the proposed site will produce additional runoff into the park land. A stormwater report has yet to be completed.
Other concerns voiced by Hatley included a potential property tax incentive for the developer.
A neighborhood meeting with the developers held Tuesday, June 21 addressed the issues. In an interview with the Telegraph, Ken Block, president of Block Real Estate Services and owner of the property, shared his comments.
Block says the plans for the property will have two detention ponds to help reduce runoff. Both will include installation of plants that filter the water. “Water coming onto our property will be cleaner than when it comes off our property,” he says.
Block admits trees will be removed that are in the line of golf ball hitting, but says he plans to keep the majority of the trees. “Everyone’s house on Grandview Road at one time was nothing but trees,” he says as a reminder that the woods have been cleared before to make way for housing.
Block said he is in talks with a few city council representatives about a tax incentive program similar to a Community Improvement District (CID) program. He hopes funds from incremental financing would go toward improvements on Grandview Rd. such as curbing, light fixtures, storm runoff, etc.
The adjacent portion of the Blue River Parkway includes 25 miles of bike trails. A portion of the trails enter the Spofford property. Black says he plans to personally pay for the cost of moving that trail back to the parkland.
Block purchased the Oakwood Country Club in 2019, investing $5 million to upgrade the city’s oldest country club, which losing membership. His plans are to make the golf course world class.
Block says he grew up attending Oakwood Country Club and has invested his own money to keep its legacy going. “It’s an act of love from my childhood,” he says.
A meeting to approve the preliminary plat will go before the Kansas City Planning Committee on Tuesday, July 5th.