Blackhoof Park at Lake Lenexa - A Post Occupancy Evaluation

Blackhoof Park at Lake Lenexa is a crown jewel in the Lenexa Parks system. The park, constructed in 2016, is full of activity no matter the season, the time of day, or the temperature outside. Much of this has to do with the amenities provided: a boat ramp and dock provide access for fishing, kayakers and more recently, even SUP’s (Stand up Paddleboards) that grace the lake horizon. The trails are heavily used by cyclists, joggers, and locals residents out for a walk with their dogs. The shelters and playgrounds are consistently buzzing with activity.  Glowing online reviews speak to the love that local residents have for this place.

This is our favorite area park- multiple playgrounds, trail, beautiful shelter and my 2 year old loves the water feature.

- Becky F., Facebook Review

The lake is lovely and there is a great picnic/party shelter at the main park and a more intimate shelter/picnic area at the lake level. There is a huge playground on the upper level with equipment for all ages and a small playground on the lake level. My son loves going to this park and we can stay for a long visit before he runs out of things to do. 

–Suzanne S., Facebook Review

What a beautiful park! The lake is gorgeous and the playgrounds were fantastic. My 18 month old had a blast climbing around on the toddler playground, there were two other playgrounds for little kids and bigger kids. The shelters were lovely and well-kept. Lots of great spots for shady picnics, too!

–Hannah M., Google Review

Vireo worked with Black and Veatch on the first phases of the Blackhoof/Lake Lenexa project which features trails, boardwalks, wetland plantings, a shelter and playground, and dam plantings.  The project has had just over a decade to mature, and while there are some features that need refreshing, the overall design has held up remarkably well over time. The ipe wood boardwalk has weathered to a lovely silvery grey, the trees have begun to mature and provide shade, and shrubs and wetland have matured and filled in providing wildlife habitat as well as gorgeous backdrops for countless senior and wedding photographs! Like all living landscapes, however, plantings are never meant to be static and in some cases nature has forcefully reclaimed areas meant to be formal landscape beds. As an unirrigated project, several trees and shrubs have struggled over the years in the hot, dry summers that plague the Midwest.

Post occupancy site visits are a useful tool in assessing these types of project successes and failures as we strive for better design, easier maintenance, and greater longevity of our designed landscapes. Vireo has committed to visiting the majority of our built works over the next year, documenting and learning from what we discover in the field. We will share some of our findings here, as well as other quick walk-throughs of some of our favorite designs.

After all, no designed planting ever lasts. It’s main purpose is not to edure, but enchant.

– ‘Planting in Post-Wild World’, by Thomas Tainer and Claudia West.

Black Hoof park certainly is a project that enchants.