The Russell and Helen Means Observation Tower at Kill Creek Park is now open to the public.
The 58-foot high structure is located near the entrance of the park at 11670 Homestead Lane, between De Soto and Olathe. The observance tower features a central ADA compliant elevator along with stairs to the top level for viewing the western Johnson County countryside.
The project, which was designed by the Johnson County Park & Recreation District and SFS Architecture, has a parking lot and connection to existing trails. Future additions to compliment the observation tower include additional parking and shelters.
An official dedication of the observation tower is expected to be scheduled and announced soon when arrangements have been completed.
The structure is named in honor of Russell and Helen Means. They had owned the land since 1960 and started development of Kill Creek Park with their donation of 355 acres. They also provided an installment purchase agreement for the acquisition of an additional 285 acres to the 640-acre park property.
The couple also willed assets now valued at approximately $1 million from their estate for park improvements, including construction of the observation tower.
For their active role in development of Kill Creek Park, the Means were honored with a Certificate of Merit by the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners and presented an award by the Sierra Club for giving land for future generations.
Helen Means died on April 4, 2011, at age 89. Russell Means followed her in death on July 20, 2012. He was 92.