Johnson County Park & Recreation District officials held the grand reopening of the popular play area, Dodge Town, in Antioch Park on Saturday, April 21 following nearly six months of renovations.
The official reopening included a rope-cutting celebration along with hot dogs and bandannas for little buckaroos, who became honorary Dodge Town deputies, complete with badges.
The event capped completion of major renovations and a few new additions to the popular attraction that has served as a stable fixture at Antioch Park, 6501 Antioch Road, Merriam, since the 1970s.
Many of the Dodge Town buildings remain, including the bank, the Pony Express outpost, a city hall with a clock tower, a general store, faux horses and cows, and a blacksmith shop. New enhancements include a covered train station, a train-sized playground and decorative cows for children to sit on and enjoy along with a new flat surfacing instead of the previous mulch.
Antioch Park, spanning 44 acres, is Johnson County Park and Recreation District’s oldest park that was purchased in 1956 and opened in 1958. The park was rededicated in 2005 following infrastructure improvements, facility upgrades and lake and wetland enhancements. Antioch Park has remained one of the district’s most popular parks, attracting up to 700,000 visitors each year.