Shawnee Mission Park Dock-4_Kansas
16 Feb

Have you seen Shawnee Mission Park Marina’s updates? The largest park in Johnson County and the most visited park in the entire state of Kansas has reopened after a $1.6 million renovation.

Shawnee Mission Park Dock-5_Kansas

The popular marina at Johnson County’s Shawnee Mission Park opened last summer after undergoing extensive renovations that began in November of 2022. The popular new features include a massive new ADA-accessible dock, a new ticketing booth, dock-level bathrooms, upgraded security cameras, and a storage facility for the marina’s 85 boats.

Shawnee Mission Park Marina building

The final addition to the park’s impressive amenities is a BoardSafe Adaptive Kayak Launch. Visitors can rent kayaks, tandem kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddleboards, and pedal boats to launch into the lake. The inclusive features offered by BoardSafe’s kayak launch provide all paddlers with a steady platform to enter and exit their boats.

The feature-rich launch provides universal access with its ADA gangway, tiered, step-down boarding bench, a roll-cage offering an overhead grab bar, grab straps to lower oneself into their vessel, and a stabilizing kayak chute with pull bars for a stable entry onto the water. Everyone knows that getting in and out of a kayak is often the most challenging part of kayaking. BoardSafe’s inclusive features improve the user experience for everyone—young and old, novice and experienced, paddlers with mobility limitations, and even paddlers in wheelchairs.

Shawnee Mission Park Dock-4_Kansas

Long-term planning and preparation paid off

The project cost was approved as part of the county’s capital improvement plan for 2022. However, the marina improvements serve as part of the department’s long-term Shawnee Mission Park Master Plan, which dates back to 2003. Johnson County cares about its community and is committed to achieving its long-term goal of providing a state-of-the-art, inclusive recreation facility for the community.

What’s new at the park?

The park had an aging marina and storage building. The new building underwent significant improvements for accessibility. The improvement project also included the addition of new restrooms and a customer service counter. The park offers a lake, beach, beach house, marina, and floating docks for boating, paddling, and fishing.

The aquatic manager for the Johnson County Park and Recreation District reported that thousands of boaters use the marina’s rental services each season, and they are fortunate to bring the best to their community. High rates of usage support how facilities such as these are important draws for communities. Close-to-home recreation brings communities together and provides inclusive recreation for all, no matter the ability or disability.

Paddling builds inclusive communities and improves quality of life

As the county better accommodates all visitors, many local leaders have recognized the popularity of paddling and the need to provide safe and convenient access in and out of the water. BoardSafe’s well-known inclusive adaptive kayak launch allows people in wheelchairs to safely transition into their kayak and get out on the water. The launch system has been designed and engineered with input from adaptive paddlers to identify features that will improve the paddling experience for all users and ensure that family and friends can paddle together.

Economic benefits of building an accessible kayak launch

  1. Promotes tourism A kayak launch can attract tourists to the area and increase annual visitors to the trail. Visitor spending will increase revenue to shops, restaurants, gas stations, and hotels and appeal to nature, history, and culture enthusiasts.
  2. Job creation The construction and operation of the kayak launch can contribute to the economic development of the community by creating jobs for residents, such as construction workers, small business owners, kayak rental operators, and paddling guides. River and lake communities attract and retain skilled workers and businesses. Economic development inspires entrepreneurship and generates tax revenues for municipalities and states.
  3. Increases property value Inclusive access to a kayak launch can increase property values in the area, which can benefit local property owners and help spur economic development. Homeowners desire close-to-home recreation and are looking to connect with friends, family, and nature through outdoor recreation.
  4. Offers inclusive water access An accessible kayak launch will encourage more people to participate in outdoor activities on the water. An inclusive launch brings family and friends together and offers a healthy activity for people with mobility limitations and disabilities. As more disabled paddling groups look for recreational opportunities, a fully inclusive launch will draw adaptive paddlers to the water. In turn, this will benefit the local economy by promoting spending on outdoor gear, related activities, and services.
  5. Offers increased recreational opportunities An accessible kayak launch can provide new recreational opportunities for residents, which can improve the overall quality of life in a community. A gentle paddle down the river and sightseeing through calm waters on lakes offer associated health benefits and improve the overall quality of life.
  6. Environmental benefits Accessible kayak launches can benefit the environment by helping to protect local waterways and wildlife by maintaining the health of our most valuable natural and cultural resource.

Working together achieved results

For this extensive project, the Johnson County Parks and Recreation Department worked with design firm SFS Architecture on the project’s concept design. BoardSafe was brought into the planning for their experience and expertise in designing and building accessible floating docks. They understand the impact projects like these have on communities. With over 30 years of construction experience and 20+ years as the industry leader in dock designing, engineering, and manufacturing, BoardSafe knows that each location and installation presents distinct challenges. Water flows, tidal fluctuations, and environmental and habitat considerations, all need to be considered

when selecting the optimal dock configuration for each site. How the products fasten to the shore must allow for movement under varying marine and traffic usages. These variations—as well as ecological considerations—are carefully calculated.

BoardSafe has designed over 20 different launch configurations that can be customized to their customer’s launch site, which makes BoardSafe stand out in the marine industry.

Click here to view the 20 different kayak launch layouts that will affect pricing.

For this particular project, launch option #2 was selected with a 4 x 20 single rail gangway and a 20’ kayak chute. BoardSafe takes pride in knowing we put our customers on the right path to obtaining the best launch configuration for their site.

Schematic plan

BoardSafe was pleased to help Shawnee Mission Park achieve their accessibility goals. To learn more about the most durable and accessible aluminum floating launch system for your location, contact today at 610-899-0286. BoardSafe’s team will help you find the ideal solution for improved accessibility to and around the water.